Chinese company Joyvio is seeking nearly $1.3 billion after buying Chilean salmon company Australis.

Salmon gill nets float at a fish farm in Lake Lanque near Puerto Montt, Chile.Diego Giudice (Bloomberg)

Chinese company Joyvio, which owns the fifth largest Australis seafood salmon farm in Chile, has launched a legal battle against the brand’s previous owner, Chilean businessman Isidro Quiroga. Transnational alleges that continuous environmental violations and non-compliance with maximum production limits were covered up during the acquisition process in 2019. Asians have requested an international arbitration process through the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CCS). They are seeking back the $921 million the company paid, and another $300 million in damages. Quiroga’s attorneys argue that Joyvio knew about the overproduction.

The current owners of Australis condemn the “systematic salmon overproduction policy devised and implemented by management and the previous regulator”. The company last November filed a self-report with the Environmental Supervisory Authority (SMA) for violating production authorizations at 33 salmon fat centers – more than a third of the total 96 concessions the company has received – in the southern regions of Aysen. and Magellans between 2016 and 2022. The company says these practices produced more than 80,000 tons of salmonids.

“The new owners of Australis Seafoods have been the victims of this regulatory breach, as well as being exposed for fraud and other serious crimes in various complaints,” the company said in a statement released this week. “As stated in the purchase-sale documents signed between the parties, the seller always declared compliance with Australis environmental regulations, which was false and turned out to be part of the deception,” he added.

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Kurioga, for his part, issued a statement in which he defended his always acting in “good faith”. “I am going to defend my good name, my family and my colleagues to the last resort by taking the relevant civil and criminal actions against those who participated in this despicable campaign,” he wrote. He also accused the Chinese company of taking “outrageously” too much debt to buy Australis, based on earnings expectations that neither company was “able to meet”.

The SMA filed charges this Monday against the salmon farm for violating environmental permits at nine centers. Australis faces nearly $70 million in fines, which could be reduced for earlier self-reporting.

Joyvio is owned by Chinese holding company Legend, which also owns technology giant Lenovo. The charge he brought against companies linked to Quiroga, Inversiones Benjamín, Inversiones Ruiseñor Dos and Inversiones Arlequín, was part of an agreement signed between the two parties where they agreed to call international arbitration in case of disputes. Participating: One person chosen by each party and a third party, who cannot be Chilean or Chinese, chosen by both. The Asians chose lawyer Andrés Jana and Quiroga, Ramon Cifuentes.

A series of emails between 2021 and 2022 with Chinese members of the Australis Salmon Company’s senior management team revealed that the company’s new owners not only knew, but also authorized, that they were producing more fish than allowed.

George Bofill, one of the lawyers representing the Chinese company Joyvio, told the newspaper Wednesday The evidence in the case was “overwhelming and overwhelming.” “In my extensive experience at this point, the evidence is sufficient for Isidoro Quiroga to be formalized in the investigation. He lives in the UK after the sale of Australia, which could lead to an extradition request to try the case in Chile,” he told a Chilean newspaper.

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Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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