(Bloomberg) – The insolvency case of Guo Wengui, the exiled Chinese businessman, kicked off on Tuesday when a longtime creditor called the move “astonishing” and signaled it would lead an aggressive fight in bankruptcy court.
Guo, a former partner of Trump political strategist Steve Bannon, filed for bankruptcy last month after moving a yacht from New York waters, a move that would keep it out of the hands of creditors and then face a $134 fine. million dollars for taking this step. . Guo’s main creditor is Pacific Alliance Asia Opportunity Fund, which provided the businessman with a $30 million loan in 2008.
That loan has since grown to more than $116 million with accrued interest. In documents accompanying his bankruptcy filing, Guo said he had almost no assets and little income. But the businessman was often seen aboard the yacht in question, a vessel bought for around $30 million known as Lady May. A New York judge found last month that Guo owned or controlled the yacht, an asset that was not disclosed in his bankruptcy filing.
“The lack of candor of this court is already what leads us to believe that no quarter should be given,” said Peter Friedman, attorney for the Pacific Alliance Asia Opportunity Fund, during Guo’s first bankruptcy hearing in the Connecticut. Friedman said Guo had “a maze of trusted entities, family members and confidants to move assets” for him and said he could not be trusted.
A lawyer for Guo, Bennett Silverberg of the law firm Brown Rudnick, said his legal team had very little time to put together the bankruptcy filing documents. Guo does not read or write English, Silverberg said, and the attorney requested up to 60 additional days to translate the documents and disclose Guo’s assets and liabilities.
Silverberg also said that Pacific Alliance Asia Opportunity Fund could ultimately benefit from bankruptcy as creditors will have the opportunity to investigate Guo’s finances.
“If the allegations are true, and we’re saying they’re not, then filing for bankruptcy may be the best thing that can happen to them,” Silverberg said.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Julie Manning gave Guo until March 9 to complete his financial disclosures, far less than the 60 days requested.
The bankruptcy case is Ho Wan Kwok, 22-50073, US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut (Bridgeport).
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