Clearstream facing €500 million claim over Air Berlin
Nadia di Pillo and Zuzanna Reda-Jakima
The insolvency administrator of Air Berlin is set to sue Deutsche Börse subsidiary Clearstream to recover €497.8 million.
The complaint was due to be filed with a Frankfurt regional court on Friday, said administrators for Air Berlin, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017.
Clearstream Banking AG is “registered as a shareholder of the ordinary shares of Air Berlin PLC in the shareholder register of Air Berlin PLC in the UK “, the administrator said. The unit held the shares “for investors who have acquired entitlements to the shares of Air Berlin PLC and in securities accounts”.
Air Berlin PLC - despite being a UK company - was no longer considered a foreign company after Brexit as its administrative headquarters are in Germany, the administrator said in a statement, arguing that it should be re-qualified as a German civil law company, which would make Clearstream a “personally liable partner of this company under civil law”.
With the lawsuit, the insolvency administrator intends to claim amounts determined in an insolvency table. The court should also decide whether the Deutsche Börse subsidiary is obliged to make further payments to the bankruptcy creditors, estimated at up to one billion euros.
On Saturday, Clearstream said it had looked into the claim "as a precautionary measure", seeking legal advice. Clearstream "considers any claims in this context to be unfounded. Clearstream will take all necessary and appropriate measures to defend itself against the claim”.
Luxembourg-headquartered Clearstream is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Börse Group. Its 1,000-strong staff works in processing and custody departments. The group also operates Clearstream Services, a Luxembourg arm responsible for the group’s IT systems.