Today (07/02) a court hearing takes place in Jakarta in which Goldman Sachs International, the London-based unit of Gold Sachs, opposes Indonesian business tycoon Benny Tjokrosaputro, president director of Indonesian property developer Hanson International. Both sides are suing each other and seek damages. The outcome of this case is considered important for the foreign investor community as it involves "legal certainty regarding legitimately executed share trading through the Indonesia Stock Exchange".
In short the dispute is as follows. Tjokrosaputro pledged 425 million shares of Hanson International to US hedge fund Platinum Partners LLC in return for a loan. Allegedly, both sides agreed that this deal was done in the form of a repurchase agreement, meaning Tjokrosaputro could repurchase the 425 million shares after repaying the loan to Platinum Partners LLC.
Then, in 2015, Goldman Sachs International purchased the 425 million shares of Hanson International from Platinum Partners LLC - as a hedge for the derivatives Goldman Sachs had entered into with the fund -, a purchase that was conducted through the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) and therefore should constitute a legitimately executed trade.
In October 2016 New York-based Platinum Partners LLC filed for bankruptcy after top executives of the hedge fund were charged in a USD $1 billion fraud case.
In 2016 Goldman Sachs International started selling part of its Hanson International shares. Once Tjokrosaputro learned about these sales, he forced a stop to any further sales and sued Goldman Sachs in September 2016 for IDR 15 trillion (approx. USD $1.1 billion) in damages claiming that the share transactions were conducted unlawfully. Goldman Sachs replied that it was not aware of the deal between Tjokrosaputro and Platinum Partners LLC. It originally acquired the Hanson International shares from Newrick Holdings Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-registered company in which Tjokrosaputro is a shareholder.
In fact, Goldman Sachs filed a USD $1 billion counter lawsuit at the South Jakarta District Court in late January 2017 against Tjokrosaputro for reputation damage. Considering the deal was made by Tjokrosaputro and Platinum, Goldman Sachs says it plays no role in this legal dispute and has no business dealings with Tjokrosaputro, nor any obligations toward him.
Goldman Sachs says the purchase through the IDX makes the company the legal owner of the 425 million Hanson International shares. A Goldman Sachs lawyer said that in terms of legal certainty in Indonesia it is important that legitimately executed trades cannot later be subject to spurious legal actions by unconnected third parties.
Today (07/02) the Jakarta Court will hear Tjokrosaputro legal team's response to Goldman Sachs' counterclaim.
In Indonesian media, Bill Sullivan, Senior Foreign Counsel at an Indonesian law firm, said the lack of transparency in Indonesian court proceedings can result in very surprising decisions, particularly in cases that involve a well-resourced and well-connected local party.
The Jakarta Court postponed the hearing by two weeks. The hearing is now scheduled for 21 February 2017.