On 25th January 2016, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company called Relmada Therapeutics, which develops new drug products to treat chronic pain, filed a complaint and lawsuit motion against Laidlaw & Company Ltd in the Nevada District Court. The complaint and the lawsuit are based on the allegations that Laidlaw & Company Ltd violated its fiduciary duty to Relmada by disclosing confidential information that it obtained while serving as Relmada’s primary investment bank. Moreover, Relmada is also seeking monetary compensation for the expenses and fees it incurred acting on Laidlaw’s fabricated and distorted proxy materials in December 2015.
Surprisingly, I learned that both Relmada and Laidlaw had had amicable working interactions in the past. Based on this trust, Relmada held discussions with Laidlaw about the prospect of getting on-board new investors in the spring of 2015. So Laidlaw planned a non-deal road show, had confidential discussions with Relmada regarding its business and prospects and introduced Relmada to particular institutional investors. The lawsuit, in this case, springs from interactions between Laidlaw and one of the investors who had signed a confidentiality accord with Relmada. Laidlaw wrote a letter to their Board in addition to filing a Schedule 13D with the SEC, which unlawfully revealed confidential details concerning Relmada’s fundraising initiatives and communications with investors.
In the initial attempt to resolve the dispute, Relmada’s Board of Directors organized a meeting with Laidlaw on December 1, 2015. In this meeting, Laidlaw’s CEO, Mathew Eitner and Managing Partner, James Ahern demanded the authority to elect the majority of Relmada’s directors. Three days later, Laidlaw released a press statement, a source of Relmada’s legal complaint, saying they were unveiling a proxy solicitation to appoint five directors to control Relmada.
Laidlaw & Company is an investment bank and brokerage Company providing personalized investment guidance to private and public companies as well as wealthy individual investors. Mathew Eitner and James Ahern are Laidlaw’s CEO and Managing Partner respectively.
In my research about the company, I found out that Laidlaw has a bad history of violations against state and federal securities regulations. Moreover, it has been on the receiving end of censures and suspensions by state regulators as well as numerous customer complaints and claims.
Many people have been speculating about the foreign trusts that have dominated the tax industry and there have been stories running on all media houses. Most of the information shared has pointed to the failures that have been noted and how many people are likely to suffer under the new tax regime. Besides these notices through media outlets, professionals with deeper grasp of the issues have issued their responses to the matter and most of the information shared has helped to unravel the main problems that have caused the stagnation in the tax regime.
Professionals who have responded to the matter include renowned lawyer Geoffrey Cone, who expressed his ideas on the challenges and helped individuals to understand how the law within the country works. Although many people believe there should be an immediate solution to the matter, the truth remains that tax is a mundane issue that cannot be left in the hands of one body. There are many processes involved before changes are made to the tax regime and this demands time and a careful review of vital issues.
The OECD has prepared a list of countries that are regarded tax havens but considering the rules and provisions that determine the position of a country, New Zealand did not get a spot in the whole process. This is attributed to failure to comply with the requirements issued which include transparency and simplicity in dealings. The laws also demands that a country should offer easy access of the process across governments so information can be shared easily.
Most importantly, the tax amount should be minimal for many processes. New Zealand has not managed to comply with the above considerations, so there is little possibility the country will in near future rank among tax havens.
More about Geoffrey Cone
A graduate of law LLB from Otago University in New Zealand, Geoffrey Cone has contributed greatly in the development of international litigation. He is an expert in tax and trust laws and has worked with firms that specialize in commercial litigation during his long career. Geoffrey Cone began working in the field of law in 1980 and has explored virtually all areas of law.
He narrows his focus to commercial litigation. In 1999, he made a bold move by establishing Cone Marshall, a law firm that would specialize in international trust and tax litigation. The firm has grown its reputation for offering quality services and they are now working with professionals from different countries.