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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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Lawyer fined for conflict of interest in OW Bunker case

30 Oct 2017 10:02 GMT

Lawyer representing investors against OW previously performed duties for the bunker firm and its CEO.



A managing partner at the law firm that has been representing a group of institutional investors in a lawsuit against OW Bunker has been fined for taking on a role that is said to represent a conflict of interest.

Karsten Kristoffersen, of law firm Bruun & Hjejle, was fined DKK 10,000 ($1,563) by the Lawyers' Disciplinary Board.

Back in 2014, the lawyer performed duties for the now-defunct marine fuel specialist OW Bunker and the firm's CEO, Jim Pedersen, who died earlier this year.

The disciplinary board came to the conclusion that it could not be excluded that Bruun & Hjejle, under the advice of OW Bunker and Pedersen, "received confidential information that could be used in the subsequent trial against its management".

It is as yet unclear what the repercussions will be for Bruun & Hjejle in terms of whether it will continue to work on the case.

In the lawsuit against OW Bunker, the consortium of 24 Danish institutional investors, including ATP and PFA, brought criminal charges against the bankruptcy estate of OW Bunker, its senior management, as well as the private equity fund Altor, which was behind the initial public offering (IPO) of OW Bunker in March 2014.

In the claim, which is for DKK 769 million in damages, the plaintiffs argue that OW Bunker did not act correctly during the disclosure of information about itself prior to its IPO and that investors were therefore misled during the purchase of shares.

Additionally, five of the investors (PFA Kapitalforening, PFA Invest, Mermaid Nordic, Gudme Raaschou and Kapitalforeningen Laerernes Pension Invest) filed a second suit claiming damages of DKK 67 million against OW Bunker, its former chairman, deputy, and management, for allegedly failing to comply with exchange disclosure requirements in the autumn of 2014.

In another case, a group of 2,400 private investors - named OW Bunker-Investor - announced in December 2016 that they were suing OW Bunker's former management and Altor for losses of more than DKK 321 million.

"We are behind our lawyer and based on the information we have, there is no reason to believe that it should change," Tomas Kruger Andersen, legal director of ATP's investment department, was quoted as saying last week.


Image: OW Bunker member of staff aboard a vessel. Image credit: OW Bunker




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