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Nepal court restrains Silver Heritage over Tiger Palace land encroachment, company denies allegations

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Tiger Palace Resort Nepal

A local district court in Rupandehi in Nepal has issued a temporary injunction against selling or building anything on the plot where Tiger Palace Resort, Bhairawaha stands, pending a full verdict on a writ petition alleging encroachment on public land, as per a report in The Kathmandu Post.

The court reportedly issued the interim order against Tiger One and Silver Heritage Investment (subsidiaries of Australian stock exchange listed and Hong Kong-based Silver Heritage Group Limited) . Thaneshwor Ghimire, chairman of a water user group under the Bhairahawa-Lumbini Ground Water Irrigation Project had reportedly filed the writ demanding recovery of 9 katthas (3,205 square metres) of public land.

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Ghimire has accused the resort of encroaching on plots 120, 148, 152 and 190 belonging to a public canal and plot 73 belonging to the government. “We have been speaking out against public property being encroached on by the resort from the beginning, but our pleas fell on deaf ears,” he said. “The resort did not coordinate with the locals and captured the land.”

Silver Heritage Group however denied that it has received any formal communication or has been served any documents in relation to the legal case. In a regulatory filing to the Australian stock exchange, the company noted, “Silver Heritage Group Limited has been advised that legal proceedings have recently been initiated in the Rupandehi District Court of Nepal by a local water consumer committee based in the region (“Committee”) against two of the Company’s Nepal subsidiaries.

The Company or its subsidiaries have not been formally served with any court documents or evidence in relation to the proceedings, however the Company understands the Committee alleges that there has been construction upon a small area of land located in and around Tiger Palace Resort which is owned by the Government of Nepal and managed by the Committee under Nepal’s laws relating to canals and irrigation.

The Company intends to defend these proceedings and shall keep the market informed of any developments in line with its continuous disclosure obligations. “

Ever since the launch of its flagship Tiger Palace Resort property two years ago, Silver Heritage Group has been involved in a host of controversies, including resignation of many members of the board of directors and top management, allegations of financial irregularities, dispute with its local Nepalese partner (which was later settled) and closure of its casino operations in Vietnam.

The company is looking to either sell its Tiger Palace property or bring in a joint venture partner for the project. The proposal has reportedly received interest from several companies, including four major Nepali entities. Boutique investment banking firm Union Gaming has been appointed by the company to advise it on the proposed transaction.