BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
CONTEMPT OF COURT – APPLICANT APPLIED TO HAVE RESPONDENT FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF COURT FOR BREACHING COURT ORDERS RESTRAINING DISPOSITION OF ITS ASSETS AND FAILING TO FILE SWORN EVIDENCE REGARDING SUCH DISPOSITIONS – INTERESTS OF JUSTICE REQUIRE THAT COURT CONSIDER ALL AVAILABLE EVIDENCE – EVIDENCE ESTABLISHED THAT TRANSFERS IN ISSUE WERE EFFECTED PURSUANT TO PRIOR INSTRUCTIONS PRIOR TO COURT’S ORDER – NO OPPORTUNITY TO COUNTERMAND BECAUSE TRANSFERS COMPLETED BEFORE ORDERS MADE – FOR FINDING OF CONTEMPT, ORDER NEED TO BE CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL, AND NEED TO BE STRICTLY CONSTRUED
On the Application of PT Ventures SGPS SA, the Court heard the parties’ submissions as to whether there was contempt of the Court’s temporary worldwide freezing order on the part of the Respondents. On evidence, the transfers of assets in issue were affected and completed some seven hours before the Court’s freezing order. The Court took into account the Respondent’s submission that had the Respondent really intended to dissipate assets, engagement with the Applicants’ legal practitioners prior to the ex parte hearing “would have been the last thing to undertake”. Further, there was no evidence that the Respondents did anything (one way or the other) to expedite or delay the transfers. Given the way events unfolded, there was no opportunity to countermand the transfers, as such transfers were completed before the freezing order was made.