Castor collapse: new links emerge

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The Independent Online
CREDITORS are uncovering links between Castor Holdings, the Canadian investment company that collapsed with debts of Cdollars 2bn last June, and Imry, one of Britain's biggest property groups.

Both Castor and Imry are headed by Wolfgang Stolzenberg, the secretive London-based financier. Imry, which owes Barclays Bank pounds 440m and was behind some of Britain's most prestigious commercial projects, has always been regarded as separate from Castor.

Castor and CH International Finance, its Curacao subsidiary, are in liquidation, leaving creditors and investigators to unravel Mr Stolzenberg's empire. Their task is harder for his use of 'CH' in names.

They believe funds were transferred from Curacao to Cenvest, which sits at the top of a chain of companies leading back to Imry and its immediate parent, Chester Holdings. A prospectus issued by Mr Stolzenberg to potential investors in Imry late last year shows Cenvest as the holder of Chester's loan stock.

Accountants preparing a preliminary creditors' report before the group's final collapse also found evidence of a dollars 93m loan from Castor to an Imry company.

But directors of Imry and Chester claim they are unaware of money owed by Imry to Castor and its subsidiaries, or of the prospectus. Manish Chandre, Imry's finance director, said he knew nothing about Cenvest.

In Canada, Neil Stein, Castor's lawyer, said that as far as he was aware, Castor is not owed any money by Imry.

One of the biggest individual losers in Castor is Marco Gambazzi, a Lugano lawyer who sat on the board of Castor and its subsidiaries. Among his biggest clients is Salvatore Ligresti, the Sicilian construction tycoon. Last July, Mr Ligresti was arrested on suspicion of paying billions of lire to state officials to secure lucrative building contracts. He is awaiting trial in Milan's San Vittore jail.

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