No merit to US lenders' alleged defamation claims: Sunpower

Mainboard-listed Sunpower said yesterday that complaints filed by US-based lenders America 2030 Capital and America2030 LLC for alleged defamation have no merit.

The complaints relate to an ongoing legal dispute between the American firms and two of Sunpower's substantial shareholders, with regard to their share-loan deal.

Sunpower is seeking legal advice on the matter and "intends to vigorously defend its position" against the complaints, it said in yesterday's announcement.

The complaints were filed in the United States District Court of Colorado against Sunpower, certain directors and members of key management at the company, as well as other companies and individuals.

None of these defendants is a party to the loan agreement.

America 2030 Capital and America2030 are claiming against Sunpower and the other defendants for, among other things, alleged defamation and its related cause of actions, in relation to certain statements in Sunpower's November and December 2018 announcements about the share-loan deal.

Two of Sunpower's substantial shareholders - executive chairman Guo Hongxin and executive director Ma Ming - had each entered into an agreement in their personal capacities with America 2030 Capital to take personal loans, but later discovered that their 14 million Sunpower shares each, deposited in a designated account as collateral, were allegedly no longer in the account.

Both individuals have hired TSMP Law Corp to represent them, and the court in November last year granted an interim injunction to restrain America 2030 and parties working with it from selling, forfeiting, transferring or dealing with the shares.

Mr Guo and Mr Ma also lodged a report late last year with the Commercial Affairs Department in Singapore over the unauthorised transfer of their shares.

Sunpower shares were trading at 54 Singapore cents as at 4.10pm yesterday, up one cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'No merit to US lenders' alleged defamation claims: Sunpower'. Print Edition | Subscribe