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A London court case over $700 million in Shariah-compliant bonds issued by Dana Gas PJSC was derailed as lawyers said judges in the United Arab Emirates issued an order blocking the trial.
Dana Gas stunned investors and the Islamic finance community when it announced in June that it had reviewed its own bonds and found they were not, in fact, Shariah compliant. Bondholders, led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc., hired investment bankers and then lawyers when it became clear they were facing losses of 90 percent or more.
But Tuesday, on the first day of the trial, lawyers said an order issued by a court in the U.A.E. days earlier prevented Dana from participating in the London case. BlackRock’s attorneys said the ruling was a last-minute tactic to halt the proceedings.
"Dana deliberately frustrated and colluded” to obtain a ruling in the U.A.E. city of Sharjah “to prevent these proceedings," Robert Anderson, a lawyer for BlackRock told a London judge Tuesday.
Neil Kitchener, Dana’s lawyer, said that the U.A.E. order effectively halted the London case because it would not be possible to have a trial without the energy producer, which is based in the Middle-Eastern country.
While Judge George Leggatt said that the trial won’t be starting today, BlackRock pushed for the proceedings to resume as soon as possible.
"The court should proceed now to decide the English law questions which are discreet," said Richard Handyside, another BlackRock lawyer. "It is simply too important and too much money to kick it down the road."
The case is Dana Gas PJSC v. Dana Gas Sukuk, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, Financial Listings, FL-2017-000375
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