Things are heating up between Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan and Indonesian conglomerate James Riady of the Lippo Group. The battle between two of Southeast Asia’s richest men is set to take place in a Singapore High Court over a US$300 million (RM954.54 million) broadcast joint-venture deal gone sour, with a hearing has been scheduled on July 23 and 24.
It all started with a business dealing between the two groups in 2005, in which a
joint venture was formed to set up a direct-to-home pay TV business in
Indonesia. Between 2005 and 2008, Ananda’s Astro All Asia Networks Ltd (ASTRO) spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding the pay TV business at the request
of the Riady's Lippo Group.
In February 2010, ASTRO won the award against Lippo during an arbitration process in Singapore over an unsuccessful joint-venture with a subsidiary of a member company in Lippo, which made the latter head to the Singapore courts to challenge ASTRO's right to enforce the arbitration award against it.
At the height of the dispute, police reports were
lodged against ASTRO and its representatives, including executive deputy
chairman Ralph Marshall, by groups linked to Lippo alleging criminal
behaviour. ASTRO has since denied the allegations.
Both parties are also set to go to trial in Hong Kong on Aug 3, where the Lippo Group has sought to set aside a garnishee order obtained by ASTRO to compel another Lippo company calledAcross Asia to cough up US$44mil (RM140mil) to ASTRO as part settlement of the full awards.