Re Maud; Aabar Block S.A.R.L. and another v Maud

Bankruptcy – Petition. The Companies Court held, on a preliminary issue, that it could revisit the question of whether a bankruptcy petition presented in respect of the respondent (M) was an abuse of process, notwithstanding the petitioners' contention that that issue had been decided by different judged in previous decisions. The court ruled that, on the evidence, the petitioners were not abusing the process of the court in seeking the bankruptcy order. The petition was part of a wider set of proceedings in England and Spain concerning the financing and ownership of a group of Spanish and Dutch companies known as 'the Marme Group', which owned a substantial office and real estate complex in Madrid that had been leased to a company in the Santander Banking Group. M and his business associate owned the parent company of the Marme Group and had borrowed loans to finance the acquisition of the complex. The court ruled that, where the petitioners were joint owners of the debt owed by M, neither was entitled to demand separate payment of any part of the debt for their own benefit. Accordingly, the second petitioner could not ask the court to make an immediate bankruptcy order against the wishes of its joint petitioner, which preferred an adjournment of the petition to see if anything would come of discussions arising out of an ongoing liquidation process in Spain. The petition was not dismissed and a further adjournment in the proceedings was not granted. Instead, the parties were invited to address the court as to the appropriate directions to be given for the future conduct of the petition.

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