Australia’s Takeovers Panel announced on Thursday it had declined a request from casino operator Donaco International Ltd to probe whether a Thai businessman – with whom the firm is tussling via courts and tribunals in three countries – was trying behind the scenes to shape the membership of the Donaco board.
The company “did not provide a sufficient body of material to justify the panel making further enquiries,” the Takeovers Panel said in its decision.
It added: “The panel concluded there was no reasonable prospect that it would make a declaration of unacceptable circumstances.”
It was referring to claims by Donaco that company shareholders Patrick Tan and Gerald Tan – two people who have called for a meeting of all stockholders in order to vote on a proposal to replace the current board – were associated with a trio of Thai businessmen: Somboon Sukcharoenkraisri, a person also known as Lee Bug Leng; and Lee Bug Tong; and Lee Bug Huy.
The Takeovers Panel had confirmed in a press announcement on November 4 its receipt of paperwork outlining Donaco’s concerns. The casino group had said in a filing it was asking the panel to prevent Messrs Tan from “acquiring, transferring or disposing” of any shares in the group.
The Thai businessmen have been identified in filings by Donaco – made to the Australian Securities Exchange – as the people that sold Donaco the rights to the Star Vegas Resort and Club, a casino venue in Poipet, Cambodia. Donaco has alleged that the Thai vendors afterwards continued to operate another casino nearby, in defiance of a non-compete agreement.
The application Donaco had submitted to the Takeovers Panel suggested there were – in the summary of the situation presented to the panel – “business relationships and previous dealings between the alleged associates,” and that they had contravened Australia’s Corporations Act 2001, and provisions relating to substantial holdings in companies.
Donaco said in a Wednesday filing it had won the final stage of a particular court process in Cambodia linked to the dispute with the Thai vendors
The casino firm has also been pursuing legal remedies against the Thai party via processes in Singapore and Australia.
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