Saturday April 6, 2013

Astro and Lippo head back to Singapore over legal dispute

SINGAPORE: A long-running and tempestuous legal wrangle between two of South-East Asia’s corporate bigwigs over a failed tie-up in Indonesia will play out once again in Singapore’s courts next week.

Malaysia’s Astro, a satellite broadcast operator controlled by T. Ananda Krishnan, and First Media, a unit of Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group led by James Riady, have been embroiled in a three-year legal tussle.

The dispute is over a flopped direct-to-home satellite television joint venture.

Next Wednesday, Singapore’s Court of Appeal will hear arguments from both sides after First Media appealed against a High Court decision here last October.

Back then, Astro scored a legal triumph over First Media when the court ruled to uphold the enforcement of awards made back in February 2010 by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

In doing so, it dismissed First Media’s application for the SIAC awards not to be recognised or enforced.

The written judgment by High Court Judge Belinda Ang following a three-day hearing last July essentially required First Media to pay Astro US$250mil (RM765.88mil).

She said the lack of jurisdiction couldn’t be invoked by First Media to resist enforcement of the awards as it had not chosen to appeal in time.

In a written submission dated March 1 this year, First Media, via its lawyers at Braddell Brothers LLP, said the judge made several key errors in her analysis on the enforcement of the awards.

It said the judgment ought to be reversed on the basis that the Jakarta-based firm was entitled to resist the enforcement of the awards although it had not taken steps to set them aside. — Singapore Straits Times

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