The Bahamian Supreme Court has appointed Deloitte & Touche LLP as a receiver to Baha Mar, the stalled mega resort in Nassau, in a move that further isolates the project’s developer, Sarkis Izmirlian.
The decision came on 30 October at the request of the Export-Import Bank of China, which made a $2.45bn loan to the project in 2010.
Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian (Baha Mar Ltd)
It came as a surprise because the Supreme Court last week granted a request to delay a hearing for the government’s winding up petition against Baha Mar until 25 November. The hearing was originally expected to occur on 2 November.
Sarkis Izmirlian, who has been working on the $3.5bn hotel and casino scheme since 2005 and whose billionaire family had invested at least $850m in it before a dispute with its Chinese contractor, China Construction America, brought the project to a halt in June, lashed out at the Chinese entities and the Bahamian government following the appointment of Deloitte & Touche.
"The effect of this effort by the government of the Bahamas, China Construction America and CEXIM now leaves Baha Mar in the position where CEXIM bank is now the owner of Baha Mar; most of its employees have been laid off; widespread collateral damage to hundreds of businesses; and its assets are being further impaired," he said in a statement, seen by newspaper The Tribune.
He said the appointment of a receiver by the bank "continues the unfortunate pattern of disastrous actions taken by other stakeholders" since his company Baha Mar Ltd., filed for bankruptcy protection in the US on 29 June.
Those actions, he said, "are now destroying any hope that Baha Mar, as originally conceived for the Bahamas, can become a reality."
Liquidators of the resort last week said they would work with Deloitte to find the best way to finish the resort and open it for business.
"Our role now is to work closely with Deloitte as the bank’s appointed receivers with a view to exploring and deciding on the most appropriate strategic option in order to see the resort completed and open for business," Alastair Beveridge of AlixPartners and Edmund Rahming of KRyS-Global, the joint provisional liquidators to the Baha Mar case, said Friday in a statement.