Liquidators to take PwC to High Court

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 12:00am


The hunt for Zhu Kuan Group assets is to spiral into the High Court as provisional liquidators lock horns with the Zhuhai government-owned companies' former adviser, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), over books and records.

Attempts by provisional liquidators to probe and seize the companies' assets have been hindered by a lack of financial records, according to bank sources. To that end, partners from RSM Nelson Wheeler have asked for data from Zhu Kuan's former adviser, PwC.

The provisional liquidators are not content with the files delivered so far, according to the sources, and will ask a High Court judge to force PwC to hand over further data.

PwC, however, denies it has been anything but forthcoming with the records requested.

Partner Tom Osborn said yesterday a substantial amount of material was delivered to the offices of RSM Nelson Wheeler earlier this month. 'Earlier today we received a request from the provisional liquidators specifying further categories of documents that the provisional liquidators are interested in. We are responding to that request.'

Partners from RSM Nelson Wheeler were appointed by the High Court as provisional liquidators of Zhu Kuan Group (Zhu Kuan Uniao Commercial E Industrial) and Zhu Kuan (Hong Kong) last month. Creditor banks are owed at least $4.49 billion by the 50-company group, which has myriad interests including property and infrastructure development, tourism and water parks.

About 75 per cent of the group's property interests are in Zhuhai, with a further 23 per cent in Macau. By 2000, 41 per cent of these property investments by value had been pledged against bank loans.

According to creditors, staff from RSM Nelson Wheeler have been physically obstructed from doing land and company searches in Zhuhai. The provisional liquidators will seek assistance from officials in Beijing.