Sunday, March 3, 2024

Mahtani to Challenge English High Court’s Ruling on Atlas Mara’s Purchase of Finance Bank Zambia

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Atlas Mara Banking group, established by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, is facing a fresh legal challenge over the disputed purchase of Finance Bank Zambia (FBZ). Dr. Rajan Mahtani, founder of FBZ, is set to appeal against a recent ruling by the English High Court that favored Atlas Mara Limited (ATMA) in resisting a multi-million-dollar compensation suit brought by him and former shareholders of FBZ.

The English High Court judgment, which dismissed the compensation claim, may face scrutiny as Dr. Mahtani mobilizes a new legal team to appeal and/or seek a stay of execution on parts of the ruling. Additionally, Dr. Mahtani intends to explore other legal remedies to address what he alleges as Atlas Mara’s unjust enrichment to the tune of at least US$49.2 million, plus interest.

The contractual dispute stems from Atlas Mara’s acquisition of FBZ in 2015, during which negotiations took place in London, Dubai, and New York. Dr. Mahtani, who divested FBZ primarily for health reasons, entered into negotiations with Atlas Mara, believing the group would preserve the bank’s ethos and culture. However, discrepancies arose regarding earn-out clauses tied to the acquisition, with Atlas Mara disputing the likelihood of Dr. Mahtani raising the necessary funds.

The recent English High Court ruling found that Atlas Mara had no real expectation that Dr. Mahtani would be able to raise the requisite funds, contrary to assurances made during negotiations. This finding has prompted Dr. Mahtani to seek recourse for what he perceives as an unjust enrichment on the part of Atlas Mara, as well as compensation for losses incurred by FBZ shareholders.

Founded in 1987 by Dr. Mahtani, FBZ was Zambia’s first indigenous retail bank, boasting a network of 73 branches and over 1,000 employees. Despite its promising trajectory, FBZ’s shareholders now face the prospect of seeking legal redress for alleged breaches of the share sale and purchase agreement.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Rajan Mahtani did not read the small print. His fellow shareholders assumed that he knew what he was doing and took him on trust. And why were negotiations taking place in New York London and Dubai when the business that was being bought is based in Zambia? Mahtani was naive but he of course was in no position to take advice on where negotiations should have taken place. He thought by holding negotiations in London, New York and Dubsi made it look like he had joined the ranks of the world’s financial elites.

  2. What was he negotiating? He now ends up crying foul….he cannot sit and air his grievances with his ‘mates’ and cut his losses instead of chasing 80m sterling to take it where? Did he not step down due to ill health?

  3. I have never trusted this guys’ deal. I don’t know, somehow every business deal he seems to be in charge looks dodgy. The maize importation in the Chiluba govt comes to mind – to me this Mahtani guys is a crook!

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  4. Observation from Atlas Mara lawyers on winning the case:
    Atlas Mara had opposed the claim, and its lawyers argued that Mahtani’s claims form “part of an observable pattern of behavior” by which he “repeatedly seeks to benefit himself by unreasonable demands, threats, and continual attempts to re-open and re-negotiate the terms of deals which he has done.

  5. He will die fighting for this money. Too much stress at his age is not good. He has made enough for his family and generations to come to live a very comfortable life. Let him just live life peacefully and enjoy with his grandchildren.

  6. By the time these court cases are resolved mahtani will be dead. What a waste of time to chase for money at this age.
    Kalaba for president

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