A trial date for the recovery of assets of Joe Ezaz, the former senior partner of a law firm who is accused of misappopriating €9.8m of investors' cash in the Stirling Mortimer Global Property fund, has been set.
A ten-day hearing is expected to begin on 17 April 2012, according to the latest annual report of the Stirling Mortimer Global Property Fund PCC Ltd.
Ezaz, former senior partner at ELS International Lawyers, is accused of misappropriating investor's money by moving it from the client account of the law firm and using it for purposes unrelated to the Cape Verde (No 4) Fund, a cell of the property fund.
ELS had been in charge of holding €9.8m in an Escrow account and was supposed to return the cash as a rebate when the fund's property manager failed to hit certain sales targets in January 2010. But it failed to do so.
Stirling Mortimer won a High Court case against ELS in November 2010 which ordered the company to repay the full amount plus interest within 30 days.
However, only €3.5m has been returned, forcing the redemption date on the fund to be pushed back.
ELS held professional indemnity insurance with two insurers that provided it with cover for £10m. The primary insurer covered the first £3m while a secondary insurer was supposed to provide a balance of £7m. However, to date, the secondary insurer has denied cover, so the fund is pursuing Ezaz for the repayment of the outstanding amount.
The Stirling Mortimer fund annual report reads: "A freezing order was placed by ELS on the assets of Mr Ezaz in February 2010 and the Fund is now seeking recovery of those assets. The trial date to seize those assets has now been set to start on 17 April 2012."
The report also reveals ongoing problems relating to the state of the property market. Board chair Catherine Walter said they had "continued to try to dispose of the assets of the fund, [but] unfortunately, the world economy has not been conducive to making property sales."
Stirling Mortimer and ELS were unavailable for comment.
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