The freezing order, which has prevented former Executive Chairman of CLICO International Life Insurance Limited Leroy Parris from accessing $4.5 million in assets belonging to him and his private company Branlee Consulting Services Inc. over the past three years, has been discharged.
This was the ruling handed down in the Court of Appeal this morning by a three-member panel of justices, including Andrew Burgess, Kay Goodridge and Margaret Reifer.
On January 27, 2015, Justice William Chandler ordered the freezing of the assets after hearing an application from a team of lawyers acting on behalf of CLICO Life, which was under judicial management.
Three months later, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson upheld Chandler’s decision after Parris’s attorneys sought to have the freezing order removed.
However, in a 61-page judgment read out this morning by Madame Justice Goodridge in the presence of Parris, the appellate judges overturned both the Chief Justice and Chandler’s decisions on the matter.
“The freezing order granted by Chandler J and upheld by Gibson CJ is discharged,” the judgment said.
CLICO Life was also ordered to pay Parris’ legal costs associated with the appeal.
The appeals court also ruled on an application filed on February 20, 2015 by Mara Thompson on behalf of the estate of her late husband Prime Minister David Thompson, the principal of Thompson & Associates and former legal advisor for Parris, CLICO Life and CLICO Holdings.
In the application, Mara challenged a claim lodged by the CLICO judicial managers, Deloitte Consulting, on January 29, 2015 against Thompson’s estate. The judicial managers had called for the estate to be made accountable for $3.3 million in legal payments by CLICO to Thompson & Associates, which they said were falsely procured by Parris in breach of his fiduciary duties.
However, the Court of Appeal today set aside the application by the Thompson estate, and ordered that the claim being made by Deloitte against her estate be set down for a case management conference.
Immediately after the decision was handed down this morning, CLICO attorney Ramon Alleyne sought an injunction against the unfreezing of Parris’ assets, while serving notice of his intention to appeal the judgment.
However, Alleyne later withdrew his application for injunctive relief.
But in an interview with Barbados TODAY, he subsequently warned that his client intended to fight this judgment to the bitter end, all the way to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
“At the end of the day, the judicial manager is going to do everything possible to get back every cent that is due the policyholders of CLICO and if it means that we are going to have to fight this matter directly to the CCJ, we plan to fight this matter directly to the CCJ,” he said, adding that $3.3 million was a drop in the bucket in terms of what was lost by policyholders.
“Certainly we are not going to walk away from collecting it for the benefit of the policyholders. So there is a judgment against Mr Parris of $3.3 million and we plan to collect that,” the legal counsel for the judicial manager stressed.
In the meantime, Parris’ attorney Hal Gollop, QC welcomed the ruling, while telling Barbados TODAY he will be sending off the Court of Appeal’s decision to the bank first thing on Monday morning for his client to collect his money, which was earlier the subject of a High Court order for him to settle $3.5 million in CLICO debt to Scotiabank.