Meridian Maritime S.A, a local partner of the Danish maritime giant, has filed a complaint against Svitzer a subsidiary of Maersk for infidel and potentially fraudulent administration.
According to the plaintiff, the global tugboat port operator tried to fraudulently sideline the agreement it entered into with her by taking over the company’s operations.
Svitzer, the Argentinian subsidiary of the Maritime giant, is a member of the Danish Holding Company APM Moller Maersk tasked with partnering a local operator to gain access to the Argentinian port tugboat market.
Meridian Maritime S.A in 2016 entered into a joint venture agreement with Svitzer on the agreement that the local operator would contribute 20 percent of the capital plus knowledge of the local market and their clients; while Svitzer will provide 80 percent of the shares plus their international expertise.
The agreement led to the formation of Madero Amarras S.A. However according to the complaint filed in the Commercial Court No.8 which was served to the CEO of the company, Marc Niederer and its director, Kees Van Den Borne. In addition to the group’s attorney in Argentina Nicolas Fernandez Madero plus the company trustees Horacio Julio Ruiz Moreno and Luis Gustavo Cedrone – this agreement was not complied with by Svitzer.
The plaintiff alleged that once the maritime giant gained access into the local market leveraging the experience, networks, and expertise of its local partner in the maritime and logistics sector, it sought ways to sideline Meridian Maritime S.A from the agreement and keep the whole business.
In the suit filed by the minority shareholder, they accused the board constituted by Svitzer of conniving with the maritime giant to empty the company’s account through approving bogus expenses and awarding contracts to overseas companies controlled by the Maersk group such as Svitzer Caribbean Ltd, Wijsmuller, among others.
As part of the complaints filed by Meridian Maritime S.A, they accused the company’s board of Directors of approving falsified account statements submitted by the management.
On March 28, Judge Javier Consentino decided to intervene in the case. The Judge ordered a stay of execution of what was approved at the last meeting of the board on March 6 due to the obstruction of Meridian and third party’s rights to information that prevented them from adequately accessing the company’s real financial situation.
Ruling in favor of the plaintiff in a bid to safeguard the shareholder’s rights the Judge opted for a precautionary measure that compelled the company to intervene by a seer for 90 days, which may be extended as determined by the court.
Now this is not the first time the Maersk holding company would be involved in similar cases across the globe. Often, it partners with local operators to gain access to a local market and then pressurizes their local partner to back out of the deal so they can keep the whole operation.
As recently as in 2017, Maersk got involved in a dispute that would have spiraled into a diplomatic row. Federal Judge Enrique Lavie Pico banned the operations of government-hired tugboats for illegal activities of the Malvinas Islands without government authorizations.
The Justice objected to the tugboats which Maersk through their subsidiary Svitzer was awarded the tender in 2016 by the Ministry of Energy.