Ashmore execs in hot water

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ALPHALAND Tower on Ayala Avenue

The management of property developer Alphaland Corp. has filed a complaint at the Securities and Exchange Commission against two executives of British fund Ashmore over their alleged misrepresentation of a 2012 equity deal.

A Singapore-based unit of Ashmore earlier stated it sold in December 2012 a 2.5-percent stake in Alphaland to Credit Suisse—a P942-million deal that allowed Alphaland to meet a 10-percent minimum public ownership requirement and avoid being suspended from the Philippine Stock Exchange. It turned out Ashmore remained the owner of the shares.

“This criminal complaint is a natural consequence of our disclosure to the PSE and the SEC, as well as the Financial Conduct Authority of London regarding the misrepresentation,” Alphaland said in a statement.

Ashmore executives Alexandra Autrey and Thomas Donnelly were accused by Alphaland of violating the Securities Regulation Code.

Once the SEC determines that there have been violations of the law, it will endorse the case for court prosecution.

If found guilty, the Ashmore officers would serve a prison term of up to 21 years, Alphaland said.

Recently, Ashmore senior management found out that the sale of the 2.5-percent stake in Alphaland was only “simulated,” and that it continues to own the block. One basis for this claim was a written communication from Donnelly to an executive of a party interested in buying out Ashmore’s entire stake in Alphaland.

It was earlier reported that former Trade Minister Roberto V. Ongpin and his associates have raised their collective interest in Alphaland Corp. to 50.57 percent, diluting the interest held by Ashmore following a capital call where the latter, previously the company’s single largest majority shareholder, had allegedly defaulted.

Ashmore’s stake in Alphaland was diluted to 24.41 percent, from 69.4 percent, following the capital call. Alphaland claimed that, due to Ashmore’s refusal to fund the company, Ongpin and his group had infused P1.5 billion in Alphaland since 2013.

 Originally posted at 01:14 pm | Wednesday, January 23, 2014

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