Published On: Mon, Sep 28th, 2020

ENNIA and the theft of the century: these are the key players

PHILIPSBURG – Hushang Ansary is not the only one facing a lawsuit initiated by insurance company ENNIA; other defendants in this case include his daughter Nina, his holding Parman International and three others that have played a role in what could be considered as the theft of the century. Here are the key facts, as presented by ENNIA’s attorneys Karina Keizer and Sabine Altena in their petition to the court in Curacao, plus a description of the role each of the defendants has allegedly played in the plundering of ENNIA’s assets.

Ansary acquired Ennia in 2006 and he almost immediately used its capital to acquire Stewart and Stevenson, an American company active in the oil industry. To keep the insurance company’s books looking good, Ansary transferred the shares his company Sun Resorts held in Mullet Bay to Ennia. He also freed up capital at Ennia to lift Sun Resorts’ court protection from creditors.

Ennia put the Sun Resort shares in the books for $460 million. According to the attorneys that value is highly inflated because the appraisers dropped the property’s historical value, used a different appraisal system (IFRS) and appraisals that did not meet established standards. The appraisers also used “a very optimistic and unrealistic view on the possibilities of future development.”

The Mullet Bay value represented more than 40 percent of Ennia’s total assets. After the court approved the Central Bank’s request to apply the emergency measure to Ennia, a new appraisal showed that the realistic value of Mullet Bay is around $50 million.

The petition states that Ansary withdrew 223 million guilders ($124.6 million) from Ennia for dividends and other payments to himself, and another 140 million guilders ($78.2 million) to cover excessive costs that had nothing to do with the insurance company.

Among those costs were charitable donations in the United States, invoices from advisors to Ansary himself, salaries for people who were not even working at Ennia, excessive payments to supervisory directors and expenditures for two airplanes that were mainly used privately by Ansary.

The attorneys estimate the damage done to Ennia at 750 million guilders, damages related to Mullet Bay at 650 million and damages from excessive costs at 360 million. Total: 1,760 million guilders (just over $983,000,000).

Did this put Ennia in dire financial straits? Of course it did. But on January 13, 2019, Ansary declared in an interview with Telecuracao: “On July 4, when Ennia was taken over by the Central Bank, it had never been this prosperous, this liquid, this effectively functioning and this profitable in its 70-year history.” In reality, the attorneys note drily in their petition, the insurance company had a solvency deficit of 700 million guilders ($391 million).

How was all this possible? Ansary’s near dictatorial management style certainly has a lot to do with it, but he could never have done it alone. His co-conspirators were his daughter Nina, Abdallah Andraous, Ralph Palm and Gijsbert van Doorn. They are the other defendants in the lawsuit.

Ansary positioned himself as a spider in the center of his business web. He was de director and major shareholder of the Parman Capital Group and Parman International from December 15, 2005 until October 8, 2012 when he had reached the age of 86. He was the chairman of the supervisory board of Ennia Caribe Holding and chairman of the Investment Committee from January 25, 2006 until July 4, 2018 when the court imposed the emergency measure on Ennia. Ansary was also director of Ennia Caribe Investments from July 20, 2006 until April 27, 2007, chairman of the board and the executive committee of Stewart and Stevenson since November 23, 2005, and director of Sun Resorts and Resorts Caribe (from July 21, 2006).

Ansary’s daughter Nina was director and shareholder at Parman Capital Group and Parman International (from December 15, 2005), supervisory director of Ennia Caribe Holding (from May 20, 2009 until July 4, 2018) and director of Stewart and Stevenson.

“Nina Ansary is familiar with her father’s investment decisions and she has also approved of his policy. She was or has been associated with entities that have benefited from Ennia-investments because she was a director (and probably shareholder) of Parman Capital Group and Stewart and Stevenson,” the petition states.

Nina Ansary did not only receive part of the $166 million in dividends paid out by Parman International, she also received 1.3 million guilders (around $726,000) between 2008 and 2018 for the functions she held at Ennia.

“As a supervisory director, Nina Ansary has failed to intervene in investments that would turn out badly for Ennia but of which she would benefit significantly,” the attorneys write in their petition.

Abdallah Andraous held no less than nine different functions in the Ansary-universe. He was also Ansary’s closest confidant. Andraous is the chief financial officer of the Parman Capital Group, director of Parman International (since July 7, 2005), director at the Ennia Holding and all its subsidiaries, member of the Investment Committee and director at Resorts Caribe and the National Investment Bank.

According to the petition, Andraous had a “very significant role” in the decision making process at Ennia. Between 2008 and 2018 he received for all his functions a remuneration of 10.7 million guilders (almost $6 million) plus dividends as shareholder in Parman International.

Gijsbert van Doorn was involved with Ennia since 1996.  From 2005 to 2011 he was the company’s chief executive officer. “He consistently supported Ansary’s policy and signed decisions that were necessary for the execution of that policy,” the petition states.

Van Doorn was a director of all Ennia-entities between 2005 and April 30 2011: the holding, ECI (Ennia Caribe Investments), ECZ (Zorg – healthcare), ECL (Leven – life insurance) and ECS (Schade – indemnity insurance). He was also a director at Resorts Caribe (from July 31, 2006 until February 1, 2011) and the National Investment Bank (from 1990 until April 30, 2011)..

Van Doorn’s membership of the Investment Committee and his directorship at Ennia Caribe Investments (from 2006 to 2009) are now coming back to haunt him: “He was fully aware of Ennia’s investment policy and one of Ansary’s most important supporters within Ennia’s management,” the attorneys observe in their petition.

Ralph Palm is a prominent tax expert. For a longtime he was the lead partner of KPMG in the former Netherlands Antilles. “KPMG was the controlling accountant for Ennia during a large part of the period that is relevant for this case,” the attorneys state. Between 2006 and 2010 Palm attended meetings of the holding’s supervisory board as KPMG’s chairman and as the company’s financial advisor.

In 2011 Palm was appointed as a statutory director at Ennia and he took over the function of chief executive officer from Gijsbert van Doorn. He also became the managing director of the insurance-entities, the holding and Ennia’s investment vehicle.

Palm is a director at Resorts Caribe since August 19, 2011 and he was a director at the National Investment Bank from April 14, 2015 until July 3, 2018.

According to the attorneys, Palm was a facilitator who was well aware of the countless decisions that would be beneficial to Ansary but detrimental to Ennia. He received $300,000 a year plus an annual bonus. Between 2015 and 2018 he awarded himself advances on possible bonuses for a total of 1.8 million guilders ($1 million); between 2011 and 2018 he spent 500,000 guilders (almost $280,000) on private expenditures with credit cards from the holding an Ennia Caribe Investments. He also charged Ennia for more than 930,000 guilders (close to $520,000) for the costs of medical treatment, his private home and the purchase of a car.


Related articles:
The ENNIA-debacle: How Ansary ignored all red flags
Hushang Ansary: the colorful character at the heart of the ENNIA-controversy
Mullet Bay dossier
All Mullet Bay related articles
The Mullet Bay Parliamentary Inquiry dossier