SAO PAULO, Dec. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Banco Safra today filed suit to prevent Americanas (the "Company") and its controlling shareholders from moving forward with a deficient recovery plan that it believes would be nullified by the Judiciary.
Americanas and its controlling shareholders, Lemann, Telles and Sicupira, have proposed a recovery plan that seeks to prevent creditors from continuing to investigate the true causes of the fraud perpetrated at the Company. Banco Safra believes this clause is an illegal effort by the Company and its controlling shareholders to avoid accountability for the fraud and are challenging the legality of the recovery plan.
In January 2023, Americanas named Sérgio Rial as Chief Executive Officer. Rial was new to Americanas. Less than 10 days into his new role, he uncovered what he and others believed to be a massive fraud multiple times larger than the company's net equity, resulting in the company filing for insolvency protection. Lemann, Telles and Sicupira claim that they, like the Company's creditors, are victims of the fraud and have asserted that they were not aware of any wrongdoing at the company. They have made this claim even though they and their children sat on the Board of Directors of Americanas and have been overseeing the company and working with the executives who allegedly perpetrated the fraud for over 20 years.
To substantiate this assertion, the Board of Directors of Americanas handpicked an "Independent Committee" to investigate the alleged fraud. This Committee reports to the very same Board that oversaw the Company when the fraud was committed and has the contradictory mandate of investigating the same individuals who appointed it. This is a blatant conflict of interest and incongruent with basic corporate governance standards.
The Company and the controlling shareholders have now presented a new recovery plan that would result in creditors being repaid a fraction of what they are contractually owed on a commitment not to litigate or investigate against the controlling shareholders and their families and other directors of Americanas.
The controlling shareholders have the financial resources to fully repay creditors for all funds lost. Instead, as part of the recovery plan, they have proposed a capital injection that amounts to less than one third of the total value of the fraud and an insignificant amount in relation to their assets. In a coercive attempt to avoid fulfilling their obligations, creditors must agree to end the investigations into the fraud to benefit from this capital injection.
This illegal clause is just one of multiple deficiencies Banco Safra believes should nullify the entire Americanas recovery plan as set forth in the suit we filed today.
Robert Siegfried / Ross Lovern
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