Efforts by banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and ABN Amro Bank NV to recover US$3.5 billion ($4.76 billion) from a collapsed oil trader in Singapore have hit a snag over attempts by a court-appointed manager to tap other assets of the family that ran the firm.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, judicial managers of Hin Leong (Pte) Ltd., has urged the family to repay creditors with 95% of their assets, estimated to be worth at least $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The family could keep the remaining 5%, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. The Lim family hasn’t agreed to the proposal, stymying talks, the people said.
The impasse signals that the banks, which also include Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd., may face a long battle to recover any money from the insolvent firm. Executives at Hin Leong allegedly hid some US$800 million in losses for years and sold millions of barrels of oil that were collateral for bank loans, according to court documents. Lim Oon Kuin, the patriarch who founded Hin Leong, has been charged with abetment of forgery for the purpose of cheating, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.