The waiting game goes on

  • 1999-03-25
  • Anastasia Styopina
RIGA - Creditors of the failed Banka Baltija may not receive their compensation on March 29 despite former liquidator David Berrey's earlier promise.

The bank's new liquidator, Invest-Riga, claims it can't start paying because Berrey handed over confusing balance sheets and lists of creditors.

"Unfortunately, after we have taken over the liquidation, we concluded that we can't start paying compensation on March 29," said Invest-Riga lawyer Vairis Birze.

Berrey, in turn, has distributed a statement saying that Invest-Riga cannot sufficiently understand the information it has received.

The Latvian audit company Invest-Riga was appointed Banka Baltija's liquidator Feb. 23 after the Riga district court upheld a central bank decision to dismiss Berrey on charges of "incompetence."

At the March 18 news conference, Invest-Riga's representatives repeated the central bank's accusations made earlier in February. They claimed that Berrey handed over liquidation documents that don't give a clear picture of the bank's financial situation.

Invest-Riga Director Andris Denins said, "The balance sheets that were turned in do not comply with the accepted form. They do not have explanations and are not based on primary documents."

Denins said Berrey handed over two balance sheets on March 11 and March 17 respectively. The difference in liabilities on both balance sheets amounts to 27 million lats ($46.6 million).

"How can we get an understanding of the bank's situation from these balance sheets?" Denins asked.

Berrey has turned in two depositors' lists, which also differ, said Invest-Riga representatives. The difference between these lists amounts to 2.6 million lats, and a few hundred depositors are not included.

The former Banka Baltija liquidator explained that the first list received by Invest-Riga was approved by the Riga district court April 6, 1998. The list includes all the information creditors submitted to the former liquidator by that date.

But the number of creditors changes constantly, and new claims have been filed since that time. All the new claims have been added to the approved list, and Berrey has compiled a second list which it also handed over to Invest-Riga.

Birze says there are mistakes on both lists, and he contends Berrey has admitted as much.

Birze said the lists are not audited, and the company will have to do this in order to omit possible mistakes.

Berrey said he regards this as an unnecessary procedure and suggests the new liquidator start paying compensation on time. He planned to pay 9.5 million lats in compensation to all the creditors approved by the Riga district court from the promised date.

His statement hints that there is no reason for Invest-Riga to check the new list. It should start paying compensations provided it made provisions for 500 new creditors' claiming 75,000 lats in total, Berrey wrote.

"The new liquidator Invest-Riga simply should more actively investigate the data, in order not to hinder compensation payment process," Berry's statement reads.