FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) - SMI Hyundai Corp. says it hired a Saudi prince to help it recoup $94.5 million the Libyan government owed it for construction and design work, but the prince and a cohort forged documents and stole all the money they got from Libya.
SMI Hyundai, a Dubai corporation that operates out of Fairfax County, Va., sued H.R.H. Prince Khaled Bin Al Waleed and Massimiliano Pincione, of Richmond, Va., in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Hyundai claiming that the duo took it for $17.8 million.
"In or before 2009, SMI had completed certain construction and design work in Libya under contract with the government of Libya, for which SMI believed that payments were due in the approximate amount of $94.5 million (subject to subcontractors' claims), plus approximately $21 million in an escrow account being held by a Libyan bank," according to the complaint. "However, payment was not forthcoming, and so SMI decided to seek assistance in collecting the monies due.
"In that connection, SMI was introduced to Khaled and Pincione as individuals who may be able to assist SMI in collecting the Libyan debt."
SMI says the defendants offered to help collect the debt from Libya for a commission: 20 percent of the money collected if they could get more than $50 million, and 10 percent if they fell short of that amount.
When the defendants claimed they could extract $23 million from Libya, they said they were unhappy with the commission, so SMI agreed to their demand for a 20 percent commission on the money, according to the complaint.
SMI claims it paid the team $4.6 million, 20 percent of the $23 million, but never saw any of the money.
"In fact, approximately $17.8 million was paid out by Libya in respect of the Libyan debt to SMI, ostensibly for the benefit of SMI and in partial payment of the Libyan debt," the complaint states. "However, those payments were made to accounts controlled exclusively by PKMP [Prince Khaled Max Pincione], and no portion of that amount ever has been remitted to or for the use of SMI. ...
"Instead, Khaled and Pincione concealed their true intent, which was to convert all or substantially all of SMI's money to their own use."
SMI claims the prince and Pincione secured the $17.8 million, then forged a document authorizing them to collect $15 million of the $17.8 million.
According to the complaint, Pincione sued a Hyundai official for defamation over its forgery claim.
"In order to bolster their claim for the $15 million commission instead of the $4.6 million dollar commission that they were due under the April 9, 2010, Agreement PKMP created two other fraudulent documents in which the signature of SMI's President, Peter Jung, was forged," Hyundai claims.
It demands $35.6 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages, for breach of contract, conspiracy, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
SMI Hyundai is represented by James Tate with Tate Bywater, of Vienna, Va.
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