- The courts won’t hesitate to make bankruptcy orders despite coronavirus (COVID-19) (Moorgate Industries UK Ltd v Mittal)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Restructuring & Insolvency analysis: The court made a bankruptcy order against one of the world’s richest men—despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and arguments about technical defects in the petition. The debt was £139,786,656.43 plus interest which continues to accrue. It arose from an arbitration award in favour of Moorgate but against a third party, Global Ispat Koksna Inustrija d o o Lukavac (GIKIL). Mr Mittal had guaranteed the debts of GIKIL. Moorgate obtained an order from the High Court that Mr Mittal was jointly liable. The parties did then reach a settlement agreement which required Moorgate to pursue the debt elsewhere provided regular payments were made (but they were not. Moorgate issued a statutory demand and a petition. That first petition was defective and withdrawn) causing a debt to Mr Mittal of £66,000, which Moorgate offset in its second petition. The events of coronavirus caused a six-week adjournment from 30 March 2020. But when Mittal then sought to argue that: the debt should not be offset but should be paid; Moorgate must comply with the settlement agreement; there were technical errors; and he would pay in due course—he lost on all counts. Written by Steven Barrett, commercial chancery barrister, at Radcliffe Chambers.
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