BILLIONAIRES AND BANKRUPTCY

            Would you feel guilty if your financial circumstances compelled you to file a bankruptcy?  Consider losing a job and then finding another that only paid 10% of what you used to make.  What if you were a millionaire?  A famous basketball player filed bankruptcy even though he was playing under a one million dollar contract; he made ten million with his prior team.  What if you were a billionaire?

            It’s finally happened.  The flamboyant Brazilian industrialist Eike Batista, who married playboy bunnies and carnival queens, hosted Madonna in his Rio de Janeiro mansion for a charity, and who, according to the financial counseling firm DebtorWise, was worth thirty-five billion U.S. Dollars ($35,000,000,000.00) as recently as 2012, is now bankrupt.  DebtorWise’s attorney Sarah Song reports that his flagship corporate company, his mining company, his energy firm and his shipbuilding company have all filed corporate reorganization bankruptcy. 

            His personal guarantees of some of these debts appear to have him on the ropes as well. Over 150 million dollars in assets have been frozen by the Courts.  He has handed over his yacht, jet skis and speed boat, his Lamborghini and even his mobile phone.  Do you feel sorry for him?

            In any event, American companies tied to billionaire Donald Trump have filed bankruptcy in more than one instance.  Regardless of geography, more zeros on the debt and more diverse assets makes these cases more complicated, if salacious.

            The serious side of these news items is that bankruptcy law is there for all, when needed.  Insolvency is relative and the inability to pay your debts as they become due (the standard to qualifying for filing bankruptcy) makes bankruptcy a serious option whether you’re a Walmart associate or an international tycoon.

© David G. Hicks, Attorney at Law

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