The president of the Banco Nacional de Cuba (BNC), Joscelín Río Álvarez, argued this Wednesday in the London trial that the investment fund CRF I Limited “has not legally acquired Cuban debt” in accordance with the country’s legislation, and there is no record in the records of the institution.
Río Álvarez, according to a report by the Spanish agency efemaintained that CRF I Limited is not registered with the BNC as a creditor (only its request) and reiterated that an assignment of that status, authorized on November 25, 2019 by the official Raúl Olivera Lozano, who at that time held office, was invalid. the position of Director of Operations of that banking institution.
As part of the scheduled schedule, they will testify as witnesses, on behalf of the BNC, its president, Joscelín Río Álvarez, and for the Cuban government, the first deputy minister of Finance and Prices, Vladimir Regueiro Ale.
— EmbaCuba-UK (@EmbaCuba_UK) January 24, 2023
Lozano, who also testified yesterday by videoconference, is in prison for accepting a bribe from fund agents and violating procedures.
In his statements, Olivera argued that the CRF consultant Jeetkumar Gordhandas had offered him money to consent to the transfer of the titles, which he did irregularly, with his single signature (instead of two) and without consulting the Cuban government. .
For its part, the CRF alleges that the assignment of contractual rights to the debt of 72 million previously managed by the ICBC Standard Bank (British subsidiary of the Chinese bank ICBC) was legal and that the accusations against Olivera and other colleagues sentenced to prison “are a fabricated pretext” by the Cuban State “to evade its obligations”.
Río Álvarez, who took office in May 2020, stressed that “no BNC employee has the authority to act on behalf of the Government of Cuba.”
CRF, established in 2009 in the Cayman Islands, has claimed before the British Court the BNC as the borrower and the Republic of Cuba as guarantor for the payment of obligations for 72 million euros derived from loan contracts with European banks signed in the 1980s.
Judge Sara Cockerill of the Commercial Division of the London High Court must first determine in a process that began on Monday whether or not the investor group is a legitimate creditor of Cuba, which considers it “a vulture fund” constituted only to accumulate unpaid Cuban debt. and force their collection in court.
As reported by the newspaper Granma, in a report by journalist Humberto López, the first deputy minister of Finance and Prices, Vladimir Regueiro Ale, must still testify as a witness. Other witnesses proposed by the BNC and Cuba will be María Teresa Compte, René Lazo, Melissa Pérez and Odalys del Nodal.
All the Cuban witnesses will appear from Havana, via videoconference in real time with the courtroom.
Investment fund CRF I Limited assures that it legally acquired the rights to Cuba’s debt
CRF I Limited assures that it is not a vulture fund and points out that for years it tried to negotiate with Cuba to restructure its debt, without obtaining a response. The session continues this afternoon with the testimony of Gordhandas.
According to documents of this process, this fund has Cuban sovereign debt worth some 1,200 million euros (which does not mean that it has the contractual rights to collect it), a fact that, according to this report, would make it the main holder in the world. .
The hearing will last for two weeks.