TeleGeography has been informed that a USD20 million lawsuit has been filed in the United States Territory of American Samoa this week against Spanish telecoms company Amper, claiming that the latter’s head, Jaime Espinosa de los Monteros, fraudulently orchestrated a bidding war for the sale of Amper’s BlueSky Pacific Group, and thereby allegedly deceiving Fiji-based buyer Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) in the process. The suit has been filed by Adolfo Montenegro, who served as CEO of BlueSky from 2008-2016. It is alleged that Amper caused BlueSky to abruptly terminate Montenegro’s management contract on the same day in September 2016 that Amper signed a sales agreement with ATH (see below). For their part, Amper and BlueSky are said to have filed their own suit against Montenegro, accusing him of improperly converting company assets to personal use.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 30 August 2016 ATH announced that Amper had accepted its FJD163 million (USD79.2 million) binding offer for the sale of all of Amper’s interests in the South Pacific – comprising units in Samoa, American Samoa and the Cook Islands. ATH went on to execute a ‘deed of sale’ on 23 September 2016, but stressed that the sale was still contingent on receiving permission from the relevant local authorities. It remains unclear as to whether the legal dispute will have any bearing on the conclusion of the sale process.