Stockholders Demand Turnover of Allegedly “Lost” Gemstones and Antiquities
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August 24, 2022, US Bankruptcy Court for Middle Florida – The Ad Hoc Committee of Common Stockholders (the “Ad Hoc Committee”) of Aphex BioCleanse Systems, Inc. (the “Debtor”) sues the estate of John Bert Watson (“Watson Sr.”), John Fritzbert Watson (“Watson Jr.”) and their affiliated entities (collectively, the “Defendants”) to recover a number of precious gemstones and antiquities as alleged property of the Debtor’s bankruptcy estate.
The complaint alleges that in 2012, HAF Capital Advisors, LLC (the “HAF”), an entity controlled by Watson Sr. and/or Watson Jr., allegedly transferred some gemstones, antiquities, and valuable statues (“Gemstones and Antiquities”) with an aggregate value in excess of $500 million to the Debtor. The HAF allegedly received in exchange ten million shares of preferred stock with a total value of $500 million. In the audited financial statement for 2014, the Debtor allegedly included excerpts from independent appraisals of the Gemstones and Antiquities that marked the fair market value of the Gemstones and Antiquities in excess of $800 million.
The Debtor allegedly listed the Gemstones and Antiquities on its balance sheet from 2013 until 2016. However, in the Debtor’s unaudited financial statement for 2017, the Debtor represented that the Gemstones and Antiquities were allegedly “lost.”
The complaint claims that the Gemstones and Antiquities were allegedly stored in two vaults in Florida, and the Debtor allegedly made the payments to the vault companies up through 2020. One vault is allegedly located in Jacksonville and maintained by BBVA Bank, while the other vault facility is allegedly located in Miami and was acquired by UOVO Art, LLC (the “UOVO”) in 2021. The complaint further claims that certain Gemstones and Antiquities were allegedly transferred from the BBVA Bank vault to the vault facility owned by UOVO.
The Ad Hoc Committee claims that the Gemstones and Antiquities located in the vault facility owned by UOVO are alleged “property of the bankruptcy estate” and seeks a declaratory judgment to the same effect. The Committee further alleges that Watson Sr. and/or Watson Jr. allegedly caused the Debtor to transfer certain Gemstones and Antiquities to entities that they allegedly controlled, including HAF and Flagship Investment International Holding Corporation S.A. for little or no consideration. Consequently, the Committee pleads for a turnover of the Gemstones and Antiquities from any person in possession of them.
Ad Hoc Committee of Common Stockholders v. John Bert Watson, et al., (In re Aphex Bioclense Systems), AP No. 22-00169, US Bankruptcy Court for Middle District of Florida