Tuesday, May 18, 1999

Sukamto Sia, former Bank of Honolulu chairman.

Isle banker’s
Chapter 7 conversion

Sia's filing was changed
from Chapter 11 to expedite

By Peter Wagner


U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lloyd King has approved the conversion of Indonesian businessman Sukamto Sia's personal bankruptcy from a Chapter 11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation.

Guido Giacometti, the court-appointed trustee in Sia's bankruptcy, requested the conversion last month saying a liquidation of Sia's assets is the quickest way to resolve the bankruptcy. Sia did not challenge the conversion to Chapter 7 liquidation, which was approved yesterday.

The 39-year-old Sia, formerly Sukarman Sukamto, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November listing $9.3 million in assets and $296.4 million in debts.

Giacometti, currently investigating Sia's assets here and abroad, said he will sell the property and divide proceeds among numerous creditors, including international banks and casinos.

Sia is the former developer who sold the old Aloha Motors site on Kapiolani Boulevard to the state for the Hawaii Convention Center. He is also the majority owner of the Bank of Honolulu but resigned his post as bank chairman shortly before filing for bankruptcy.

Sia holds 76 percent of stock in the bank, currently held by two Singapore banks as collateral on loans to Sia.

The value of the stock, not publicly traded, has yet to be appraised.

Sia's holding in Bank of Honolulu is his biggest asset in Hawaii, followed by his stake in the downtown high-rise Executive Center.

Giacometti has been investigating the stock pledges, to Commerzbank and Societe Generale, in an attempt to recover the property for liquidation.

In a related development, a Las Vegas judge today postponed ruling on a request to dismiss criminal charges against Sia in a case brought last year relating to gambling debts at two casinos.

Nevada prosecutors charged Sia with bouncing about $6 million in checks at Rio Casino and $2 million at Caesars Palace.

David Chesnoff, Sia's attorney in the case, said Nevada courts don't have jurisdiction because all of Sia's assets and debts are under protection of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The motion is under review.

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