Republic Bank seeking legal advice

PORT OF SPAIN — Republic Bank is getting legal advice on statements by Claxton Bay producer Trinidad Cement Ltd which the bank is alleging are threats against it and its officers.

The bank was responding yesterday to TCL’s complaint on Monday to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Central Bank against Republic Bank, bank executive Ian De Souza and Wilfred Espinet of Wilnet Holdings asking the SEC to investigate whether or not De Souza and Espinet have contravened insider trading provisions of the Securities Act.

On June 14, TCL received a Shareholders’ Proposal from a group of 11 shareholders holding 5.68 per cent of the company which included Wilnet Holdings Ltd.

On July 12, Justice David Harris granted an injunction restraining the holding of TCL’s annual general meeting scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on that same day and adjourned the matter to July 19. TCL immediately filed a notice of appeal challenging the granting of the injunction and requested an expedited hearing of its appeal. That hearing in the Court of Appeal is fixed for September 30.

When the matter came up before Harris on July 19, attorneys for the shareholders requested that it be fast tracked towards a trial even before the matter is heard before the Court of Appeal on September 30. This request was denied and the case has been adjourned to October 4.

Yesterday Republic Bank said in a statement that a copy of a media release from Kathryna Baptiste, group legal/company secretary of Trinidad Cement Ltd, dated August 5 had come to its attention.

“Republic Bank Ltd has been reliably advised that this media release similar to other previous releases from Trinidad Cement Ltd has failed to provide a complete and accurate factual report,” the bank stated.

“There is currently a matter before the High Court and Court of Appeal between certain shareholders of Trinidad Cement Ltd and Trinidad Cement Ltd. Republic Bank Ltd is not a party to this litigation. As a matter of principle, the bank does not comment on matters that are before the courts, and in particular those in which it is not involved.”

But the bank added: “Republic Bank Ltd is in the process of taking advice with respect to the actions of Trinidad Cement Ltd’s management, including, but not limited to, its continued media releases and its threats against the bank and its officers. Dependent upon the advice received, the bank will then give mature consideration to what action it will take.” (Express)

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