White & Case and client APP face contempt of court charge

US firm White & Case has been accused of contempt of court following its representation of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) in the $6.7bn (£3.74bn) debt restructuring of its Indonesian subsidiaries.

A group of US-based APP secured creditors, led by distressed debt funds Oaktree Capital Management and Gramercy Capital Advisors, pushed for the ruling against APP and its restructuring advisers White & Case, ABM Amro Bank and DBS Group Holdings during a hearing in New York earlier in the month.

They allege that APP, the largest corporate defaulter in emerging markets history, and its advisers failed to abide by an earlier
US court judgment made against APP’s restructuring plan by continuing to seek acceptance for a repayment scheme that may not see creditors repaid for 22 years.

APP defaulted on $14bn (£7.81bn) of debt in March 2001. It is now trying to persuade bondholders of its Indo-nesian units to sign on to the repayment plan, which was approved by the European export credit agencies, Japanese trading houses and the Indonesian Bank Re-structuring Agency in October.

However, Oaktree and Gramercy won the $394m (£219.9m) judgment in April and the contempt of court case is their latest attempt to collect on that ruling.

A decision is expected from the New York State Supreme Court by mid-October.

APP is being represented in the enforcement litigation by Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. White & Case is representing itself. ABM Amro Bank and DBS Group Holdings are being represented by Wolf Bloch Schorr & Solis-Cohen. Oaktree and Gramercy are being represented by Siller Wilk.

A White & Case spokes-man declined to comment.