Abu Dhabi bankruptcies recognised as foreign main proceedings

Khaleefa Butti Omair Yousif Almuhairi and His Excellency Saeed Mohamed Butti Khalfan Alqebaisi (the debtors) are subject to bankruptcy proceedings in Abu Dhabi.

The Trustee Committee for the debtors applied to have proceedings which consolidate the bankruptcies and nearly 30 corporate debtors (owned by the debtors) recognised as “main foreign proceedings”.

The Trustee Committee sought an order for the recognition of the bankruptcies, together with a stay on the continuation of proceedings for execution against the debtors' assets in this jurisdiction, and the entrusting and realisation of the debtors' assets in this jurisdiction to the Trustee Committee.

Notwithstanding that the Dubai International Financial Centre Court had refused recognition on a similar application, applying the test in the CBIR, the court found that it was bound to recognise the bankruptcies as:

  1. They are foreign proceedings for the purposes of the CBIR, being ongoing proceedings governed by insolvency law, and subject to the control of the court for a restructuring purpose.
  2. The debtors' COMI has at all times been the UAE.
  3. The Trustee Committee collectively, and the applicants individually, is, and are, the "foreign representatives" of the debtors, being appointed by the Abu Dhabi Commercial Court in relation to the bankruptcies.

It was noted that the Dubai decision was governed by the UNCITRAL Model Law, which makes no provision for the recognition of individual debtors, only for insolvent companies. Further, this decision had been taken earlier in proceedings, and before a restructuring plan was in place.

In regards to Khaleefa Butti Omair Yousif Almuhairi, Re [2024] EWHC 535 (Ch).

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