WILLEMSTAD – In early September, the shareholders of Banco del Orinoco NV agreed to a voluntary liquidation process of the bank. This natural liquidation process that aimed to prove the money deposited by the savers and the recovery of the investments of the shareholders, was interrupted because the Central Bank of Curaçao unexpectedly, to the detriment of savers, workers and shareholders, requested an emergency measure to the court in Curaçao.
This measure was unnecessary and, far from helping those interested, has generated a legal process with an illegal bankruptcy of the Bank of Orinoco N.V. that has hindered what should have been a process of no more than 60 days for the happy ending of all parties.
Workers and shareholders have exercised an appeal against bankruptcy which has been rejected by a court of first instance in Curaçao, so they will now appeal to a higher court.
It should be noted that Judge Gerst de Veld sympathized with the ruling by her colleague Judge De Kort, who did not directly notify employees or the shareholder of the bankruptcy petition. De Kort had sent a written notification to the headquarters of the Banco del Orinoco NV, which was accompanied by instructions of the Central Bank of Curaçao. They did not take into account the evidence presented by the affected party and the due right to defense was not allowed, declaring a bankruptcy in which the judge appoints himself as supervisor of the process and the lawyers at the desk representing the Central Bank of Curaçao are appointed bankruptcy administrators, which generates an obvious conflict of interest.
Assets under custody
Regarding the existence of the assets, both parties, the representatives of the Bank of the Orinoco, its shareholders and workers and the lawyers of the Central Bank of Curaçao, acting as liquidators of bankruptcy, said they had come into contact with the custodians of the assets from Banco del Orinoco NV. That is, all parties agreed on the existence of the institution’s assets to carry out the liquidation process. However, it is striking that the Judge of the case assessed the elements brought to trial by the Central Bank but denied any effect to the letters and other documents issued by the same custodians that the Central Bank contacted, which detailed the assets. Nor did it take into account the reports detailing the amount and location of the same requested from international firms by the same Central Bank of Curaçao in May 2019.
Workers and shareholders have already agreed to file an appeal in the next days in a higher court and continue fighting to comply with what was agreed in the Board of Directors of September 3, 2019 which declares the liquidation in order to credit the funds in less than 60 days to the savers and investors of the Banco del Orinoco NV.