(Adds detail, background)
By Henning Gloystein and Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, June 14 The former chief executive of
troubled Hong Kong-based commodity merchant Noble Group, Yusuf
Alireza, has issued a claim against the firm's founder and
emeritus chairman Richard Elman over alleged unpaid share
payments worth millions of dollars.
In a writ of summons issued on June 13 to Hong Kong's High
Court, Alireza claims that Elman as well as a company called
Fleet Overseas (New Zealand), which is allegedly affiliated with
Elman, failed to pay out shares of Noble Group
following Alireza's departure of the company in 2016.
The writ, seen by Reuters, demands the payment of the
outstanding shares and, "in addition, the Plaintiff (Alireza)
claims damages for late delivery (of the shares), based on the
difference in value of the shares when they ought to have been
delivered on February 1 2015 ... and the date of actual
The document claims Alireza is owed two batches of shares
totalling 1.4 percent of Noble Group's stock, which it claims
have a combined value of S$79.2 million ($57.3 million).
The document also demands "damages for late delivery."
Noble had no comment. Elman did not immediately respond to
an email seeking comment.
A writ of summons is used to start legal proceedings and can
lead to legal action if the demands are not met.
The shares of Hong Kong-based but Singapore-listed Noble
Group have collapsed by 98 percent from their 2011 peak to just
32 Singapore cents as the company battles accusations of murky
accounting and a broad commodity downturn.
The firm's market capitalization has slumped from a peak of
more than S$10 billion to just S$430 million.
The company is in negotiations with banks over a roll-over
of a $2 billion credit facility, and it is also being sounded
out by rival trading houses for its remaining business, which is
mainly focused on thermal coal trading but also includes U.S.
The court document states that Alireza approached Elman in
early May of 2016 and "raised his concerns over the future
viability of the Noble Group."
Alireza left the company later that month.
($1 = 1.3820 Singapore dollars)
(Additional reporting by Anshuman Daga and Aradhana Aravindan;
Editing by Richard Pullin)