Ananda Krishnan – Legal battle between the two Southeast Asian tycoons – $300 million

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SINGAPORE: Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan on Tuesday called on Singapore’s high court to enforce an arbitration centre order for his former Indonesian business partner James Riady to pay out $300 million.

The sum was awarded to Ananda Krishnan in 2010 by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, a body set up to settle complex business disputes, after the pair had a falling-out over a failed Indonesian pay-television venture.

Krishnan heads the Astro communications empire of Malaysia, while Riady manages the Lippo Group of Indonesia.

Ananda Krishnan, represented by senior British lawyer David Joseph, argued in court that Riady had to pay the sum because Lippo had missed the deadline for appealing the arbitration centre’s decision.

“There is no remaining available process for (Lippo) to challenge the awards or their validity,” Joseph said.

“The awards are final and binding and are recognised as such under Singapore statute. Being final and binding, the courts should enforce them.”

Joseph also highlighted correspondence between lawyers representing Astro and Lippo, in an effort to prove that Riady was fully aware of the time limit for appealing the decision.

The legal battle between the two Southeast Asian tycoons is shaping up to be a drawn-out, acrimonious affair as similar cases have been filed in courts in Hong Kong, Malaysia and London.

Riady is the deputy chairman of Lippo Group, a conglomerate with assets in media and financial services, and the son of the firm’s founder Mochtar Riady.

The elder Riady is estimated by Forbes business magazine to be worth $650 million, making him Indonesia’s 38th richest man, according to a list issued in November 2011.

Krishnan is Malaysia’s second-richest man with a net worth of $9.9 billion as of March 2012, according to Forbes. He has interests in communications, broadcasting, oil and gas.

The hearing will end on Wednesday. -AFP