Sahara group welcomes court order on US hotels

New Delhi: The Sahara group on Wednesday welcomed a US court’s order that rejected the plea for attachment of its two hotels in New York and said it was “unfairly” dragged into a private dispute between two parties.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York has rejected a plea by Hong Kong-based JTS Trading Ltd that had sought attachment of Sahara’s prized hotels Plaza and Dream Downtown in the US as part of a lawsuit over a deal that went sour.

“We welcome the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s decision which understood our claims in the pious light of justice and protected us from becoming a victim of unscrupulous litigation which aimed at falsely and unfairly dragging us into a private dispute between two parties who have had a falling out,” a Sahara group spokesperson said in a statement.

Hong Kong-based JTS Trading had approached the court seeking the attachment as part of its $350-million lawsuit against UAE-based Trinity White City Ventures, Sahara group and Swiss banking giant UBS over a deal that went sour.

JTS Trading had filed the suit in June, claiming that it had a deal under a joint venture with Trinity for a deal of the hotels and that it was abruptly excluded when Trinity decided to partner with Sahara.

Sahara however told the court that it was being unfairly dragged into a private dispute between JTS and Trinity, as it was a non-party to the dispute.

Sahara claimed JTS had no rights to attach the interests of Sahara’s subsidiary non-party entities (Sahara Plaza LLC and Sahara Dreams LLC), which were accepted by the court.

JTS Trading was apparently in a potential joint venture in a potential bid by Trinity to refinance Sahara’s two hotels in New York and one in London (Grosvenor House).

Sahara was at one time in discussions with Trinity for a refinancing deal, but said it had no knowledge of the dealings between Trinity and JTS. JTS had alleged breach of the prior joint venture and sought USD 350 million as damages and attachment of Sahara’s two US hotels.

The Court however said in its order, dated September 14, that JTS has failed to establish entitlement to attach the assets of the non-parties.

While accepting Sahara’s contentions in the matter, the court ordered, “Accordingly, JTS’s application for a pre-judgment order of attachment, and all of JTS’s alternate grounds for relief, must be denied.”