US court documents reveal that the former Directors and Officers of the Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc face a US $300 million lawsuit, after allegations that they took advantage of the company’s cash and assets and contributed to its bankruptcy.
- The company files for bankruptcy in November 2018.
- The Company emerged from Chapter 11 restructuring as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercuria Energy Group Limited.
- Aegean Marine officially becomes Minerva Bunkering.
The action filed in the US District Court, was brought by Peter Kravitz, a trustee of the Aegean Litigation Trust. The creation of the trust formed part of the Joint Plan of Reorganisation of Aegean Marine which received a court confirmation order in April this year. The recovery of the alleged misappropriated $300 million falls within the remit of the Trust.
The action is filed against E. Nikolas Tavlarios, Peter C. Georgiopoulos, John P. Tavlarios, and George Konomos.
The Manifold Times report that the defendants enabled Aegean’s former CEO, Dimitris Melissanidis, to defraud Aegean and manipulate its finances without any monitoring, oversight, or scrutiny.
In bad faith dereliction and breach of their duties, Defendants turned their heads as Melisanidis essentially had his way with the Company and rendered it hopelessly insolvent.
According to the filed document, Melissanidis took advantage of more than $300 million from the company by 2018.
The document further highlights that “the defendants were all aware of numerous irregularities and other red flags during their tenure, yet they did nothing to prevent Melisanidis from using his position to denude the Company of value.”
Amongst many fraudulent actions, Melisanidis engineered a massive accounting fraud whereby Aegean accumulated $200 million in fake accounts receivable between 2015 and 2017 from sham entities affiliated with his associates. He purported to sell his approximately 22% stake in Aegean for approximately $100 million, where the company never actually paid for the shares.
Concluding, the Defendants were aware of Melissanidis background, including his extensive criminal history for fraud related conduct, his suspect business practices, and his propensity for physical violence.