Deutsche Bank seeks contempt of court against alleged Monaco resident

Photo: Andre Engels
Photo: Andre Engels

Deutsche Bank has asked a London judge for permission to seek a contempt of court order against Alexander Vik, a billionaire the bank claims is resident in Monaco. The case concerns $288 million (€260 million) in debts from a seven-year-old lawsuit, and the Norwegian-born businessman could be sent to prison if he doesn’t comply.

Vik’s trading company, Sebastian Holdings, sued Deutsche Bank for as much as $8 billion (€7.2 million) over trades that collapsed during the market crash of 2008, one of the largest cases ever heard in the UK, but a London judge ruled against Sebastian in 2013, and Vik was ordered to pay the trading debt, as well as the bank’s legal costs, Bloomberg reports.

The German lender has also accused Vik of setting up sham trusts and transferring assets to family members. In April, a Norwegian court agreed to freeze shares in an Oslo software company that were linked to Vik.

His appeal against the decision of the British courts was denied in January 2016 by the England and Wales Court of Appeal, who said he had to pay. Vik has shown a continuing “pattern of evasion”, Deutsche Bank’s lawyer Sonia Tolaney said at the court hearing on Thursday. “We say Mr Vik has lied.” Deutsche Bank sought permission to serve its application for a suspended committal order against Vik in Monaco, the start of a legal process that could end with him being sent to prison if he doesn’t provide the information the bank is seeking.

Deutsche Bank should not be allowed to “sidestep the important and legitimate hurdles which must be overcome before potentially depriving an individual in Mr Vik’s position of his liberty,” his lawyers said in the filing.

Harvard alumnus Vik made his fortune with internet firm Xcelera Inc., and tried unsuccessfully to break up French media company Vivendi SA in 2006.

According to Forbes, Alexander Vik comes from a wealthy family of fur merchants and has dabbled in everything from closed-end country funds to insurance companies and tech start-ups. Sebastian Holdings, Vik’s trading entity, has ceased its operations, but Vik has other companies, including Norway-based market-research software company Confirmit. A Norwegian who was raised in Sweden and schooled in the Canary Islands, Vik was a former golf champion at Harvard University. An avid collector of art, he has developed luxury hotel properties in Uruguay and opened a vineyard in Chile in 2004.