March 8, 2017 / 11:09 PM / in a year

Minority Avianca shareholder demands investigation of Synergy deals

BOGOTA, March 8 (Reuters) - Kingsland Holdings Limited, a minority shareholder in Colombian flagship airline Avianca , has formally requested shareholders vote on whether to appoint an auditor to examine transactions between the airline and controlling shareholder Synergy, Kingsland said on Wednesday.

Synergy is controlled by investor German Efromovich, who along with United Continental Holdings Inc is being sued by Kingsland for “clandestinely” negotiating an $800 million loan and strategic alliance behind the backs of other shareholders.

Synergy holds 78 percent of Avianca voting shares, while Kingsland holds 22 percent.

Kingsland, controlled by El Salvador’s Kriete family, said in a statement on Wednesday that it has been requesting for several months that Avianca retain an independent auditor to review transactions with Synergy.

“To date, Synergy has caused Avianca to deny these requests, leaving Kingsland no choice but to take all actions necessary to protect the interests of Avianca’s minority shareholders,” the statement said.

“In the event that, at the extraordinary shareholders meeting, Synergy uses its controlling position in Avianca’s voting shares to again deny an impartial review of its related party transactions with Avianca, Kingsland intends to request that a civil court in Panama appoint independent auditors.”

Avianca could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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