BusinessBusiness RecoveryOverview: Steve Akers – room for manoeuvre

Overview: Steve Akers - room for manoeuvre

Prospects: sorting out the Madoff mess requires cooperation

Steve Akers by Barker

Steve Akers by Barker

The insolvency business may be booming, but there are only a couple of really
high-profile corporate collapses you would want to deal with. One of those is
the vast amorphous task that is sorting out the creditors of Lehman’s. The other
is liquidating the assets of Bernard Madoff, perpetrator of potentially the
biggest fraud in the world. Steve Akers is helping lead the Grant Thornton team
liquidating Madoff’s UK assets.

What’s happened…

It was in February that the directors of Madoff’s UK business, Madoff
Securities International, applied for a winding up order on the London interests
of Madoff’s empire built on sand.

Since then Steve Akers, Mark Byers and Andrew Hosking have been on the trail
of assets they believe were bought by the Madoff family through the London
company. Top of their list was a vintage Aston Martin, said to be worth around
£150,000 and a yacht, moored in Antibes on the Cote D’Azur, estimated to be
worth £4m.

But the big test came a couple of weeks ago when Akers et al went to court in
New York to hammer out a deal with the US liquidator, Irving Picard, over who
could pursue which assets. Picard believed that he should have a claim over
assets bought through the UK business. Akers and his cohorts thought not. The
two have now come to an agreement and Akers and the team are set to pursue an
apartment in Antibes, said to be relatively modest, with a value reported at
£1m.

What happens next…

This is a high-profile job and Akers will want to make sure it turns out well
for the creditors. The big questions will be whether his team can unearth any
other assets worth liquidating.

Those who know Akers say he’s a man ‘who won’t stand for any nonsense’ and
he’s ‘very competent and very driven’.

That much is true from his history. Akers’ big claim to fame is to have been
the lead English liquidator who worked on collapsed bank BCCI while he was still
with Deloitte. Indeed, he worked on it for six years from 1991 to 1997. It was
in 1999 that Deloitte liquidators began their ill-fated law suit against the
Bank of England for failing to regulate BCCI properly. That claim ran until 2005
and ended in Deloitte paying the Bank of England £73m in costs.

Akers’ CV extends to other areas, though, including liquidating Trading
Partners, part of the Versailles Group, which entered administration in 2000.

Akers has also worked on projects funded by the World Bank, though his CV
offers little detail on what
they were.

But the immediate work is on the Madoff liquidation. There are a lot of
people owed money so the pressure to realise as much for the creditors as
possible is on. Should keep Akers busy for a good while yet.

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