Corpcapital protests search order.

Posted On Monday, 17 March 2003 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News.
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Specialist banker Corpcapital has slated a "search and seizure" court order obtained against it by a former director, Nic Frangos, as an "abuse of process".

Property-Housing-ResidentialFrangos' lawyer, JW Wessels, confirmed on Thursday that Corpcapital's head office in Rosebank and the homes of the company's CEO, Jeff Liebesman, and executive director Neil Lazarus had been searched for evidence.

The premises of private investigators Associated Intelligence Network Group (AIN) were also searched for evidence.

Wessels said the search followed the granting of an Anton Piller (search and seizure) order by a High Court Judge based on evidence presented which showed that Frangos had been the subject of an investigation by AIN on the instructions of Corpcapital.

The court granted Frangos' legal team the right to search for further relevant evidence and to place it under seal to avoid the potential destruction of evidence.

However, Corpcapital, denying conducting any investigation into Frangos, described the search and seizure operation as an abuse of process, charging it was based on "dishonest and fundamentally unfounded allegations" and was secured without any notice to Corpcapital or its directors.

"Neither Corpcapital nor any of its directors or employees have ever commissioned an investigation into the public or private affairs of Mr Frangos.

"To the contrary, Corpcapital's board of directors has taken a deliberate decision that it would not embark upon any personal campaign against Mr Frangos," Corpcapital said in a statement.

"Neither Corpcapital nor any of its directors or employees have ever been a party to any alleged infringement of Mr Frangos' right to privacy. The search undertaken on behalf of Mr Frangos today at a number of different premises will make that abundantly clear," it added.

The company said it was it was obvious from the numerous public statements made on behalf of Corpcapital during recent months that:

  • No personal attack has ever been made against Frangos;
  • Neither Corpcapital nor its representatives have ever referred to any personal information relevant to Frangos.

"In addition, the board has communicated its decision not to conduct, or tolerate, any personal attack on Mr Frangos in correspondence with its employees dated February 20 2003.

"Both Corpcapital and those directors, who have been personally joined as parties to the search proceedings, are in the process of taking advice regarding their positions and the remedies they have against all involved in this abusive action.

"In his media release earlier today Mr Frangos has called for answers to a number of specific questions. All of these questions are premised on Corpcapital's involvement in investigations, which he alleges have been made, into his personal affairs.

"As stated above, neither Corpcapital, nor any of its directors or employees have ever been involved in investigations of that nature. Consequently all of the questions raised by him are irrelevant," Corpcapital said.

Frangos has been involved in a dispute with the board of Corpcapital since resigning as a non-executive director of the company at the end of last year, accusing the company of corporate governance violations.

However, the company was recently cleared of the allegations by independent corporate governance expert Nigel Payne who was appointed to look into the claims.

Payne, apart from making some minor recommendations, found nothing wrong with the financial services company and said executives had not conducted business in a way that had favoured their interests over shareholders.

Frangos had said there were issues which did not allow him to carry out his fiduciary duties as a director. These included misrepresentation to Old Mutual regarding directors salaries and perks, problems with the valuation of an unlisted offshore company and a situation in which executives interests.

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