by Shawn Cumberbatch
The sale of a multi-million Christ Church office complex owned by an international business company which unexpectedly relocated from Barbados last year is now the subject of major court action.
Barbadian company Altman Real Estate has been granted an injunction against American real estate company Cushman & Wakefield of Carlifornia Inc., Canadian pharmaceutical firm Valeant and another company called Hythe Property Inc., as Altman seeks a $325,000 agent commission it is says is due to it.
But after the Barbados High Court included the Inter-American Development Bank, new occupant of Valeant’s former Welches offices, in the injunction granted in early December, a subsequent application by that financial institution has seen it being removed from the action based on the special immunity it holds.
It means that with the exception of the IDB all others in the action brought by Altman are currently barred from releasing or removing from Barbados any of their assets worth up to $325,000.00 or doing anything to dispose of these assets or diminish their value in or outside of the island.
The court also said that the prohibition order included monies related to the Valeant building.
It was in a claim form filed on December 10, 2012†that Altman claimed the $325,000 sum against Cushman & Wakefield, money it told the court was “the amount of commission payable for its services as agent under an agreement dated the 23 and 24 days of July 2012″ and made between the two companies.
The claim also said Altman was “duly identified as the sole and exclusive agent” of the Valeant property, and alleged a breach of contract, among other things.
The IDB’s lawyer Ramon Alleyne had submitted to the court that his client had special immunities that had to be factored into any decision related to Altman action.
“Mr. Alleyne, counsel for the Inter-American Development Bank, submitted that Barbados’ membership in IADB was governed by the agreement between the parties and the IADB Act which gave the agreement the force of law.†He referred to section 3 of Article XI of the agreement which contained the privileges and immunities of the bank,” court documents stated.
“He also submitted that section 5 of the IADB Act gave sections 2 to 9, inclusive of Article XI, the force of law.†Section 3 of Article XI of the IADB Agreement is set out at paragraph 15 of this decision.
“He submitted also that the freezing order was an interlocutory judgment and therefore an attachment in the simple meaning of that word.†The order, therefore, was contrary to the provisions of the said act which rendered the assets of the bank immune from attachment or seizure since the order impinged on those immunities.†He conceded, however, that the immunity of the bank was not an immunity from suit,” the court added.
And having applied for the court to discharge the order against the IDB because it contravened section 5 of the Inter-American Development Bank Act Chapter 323(B) of the Laws of Barbados, and also for the organisation to be removed as a party to the proceedings, in addition to being awarded costs, the court agreed.
“It is ordered as follows:†The freezing injunction is set aside insofar as it relates to the (IDB);†the (IDB) is removed as a party to these proceedings under Rule 19.3(1) of the Supreme Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2008,” the court ruled.
It also instructed Altman to “file an amended Freezing Order together with amended versions of any other documents already filed in this matter therein removing all reference to the (IDB)”. email@example.com