The Supreme Court of Gibraltar has granted a £5m worldwide freezing order against Mansion Gibraltar's former chief executive and de facto chief financial officer, Karel Christian Manasco.
Mansion and Onisac, an operator that is also part of the wider Mansion Group, are the claimants in the case surrounding a list of allegations of various breaches of fiduciary, non-fiduciary and contractual duties during Manasco’s time as CEO and sole director of Mansion.
The claimants are seeking "damages or compensation" of £2.33m and €2.97m from defendants Manasco and KM Accountants, as well as an "order that the accounts for all the benefits he (or his related parties) may have received directly or indirectly as a result of his position”, according to the judgment published on February 21, 2023.
KM Accounts is a company of which, the claimants allege, Manasco is the sole director and shareholder. The company was registered in Gibraltar in 2008 but was struck off the Register of Companies on April 20, 2016, before being restored to the register on April 4, 2019.
It is important to note that the decision to issue the freezing order simply reflects that the legal case is “of certain strength ... which is more than barely capable of serious argument and yet not necessarily one which the judge believes to have a better than 50 percent chance of success", according to the judgment.
This means the 11 different alleged breaches have still not been proven.
These include allegedly authorising and approving €2.5m and £127,000 payments to a company known as White Wizard Media Limited, a company incorporated in the Marshall Islands, which, according to Mansion’s knowledge, “did not provide any services”.
Manasco also allegedly procured €327,033 and £427,500 in bonus payments to himself for the financial years 2019 and 2020, as well as £66,236 in alleged personal allowance payments to which he was not entitled.
Manasco is also accused of “failing to take reasonable steps (or any steps) to comply with directions given by the regulatory authority for gaming in Gibraltar, ultimately requiring Onisac (online casino operator owned by Mansion) to enter into a regulatory settlement of £850,000”.
He is further accused of getting Mansion Gibraltar to purchase four high-value cars for his own personal use for £192,139, as well as “obtaining a (secret) personal profit by receiving a Ferrari which he valued for insurance purposes at £150,000 as inducement for Manasco to act favorably to another company”.
Additionally, Manasco allegedly purchased several luxury watches and jewellery and used the company credit card to spend £249,951 “for personal expenses”, £14,755 for a domain name “for his benefit” and £71,931 for other personal expenses such as legal fees and rent.
Although Manasco “denies and strongly contests” the underlying claims, he did accept that the “good arguable” case threshold has been met.
The claim against Manasco was issued on September 7, 2022.
Manasco joined Mansion in 2010, becoming the chief financial officer in 2012. In May 2016, he became director of the claimants and other Mansion companies. In December of that same year, he became the sole director after the then chief executive resigned.
He was later appointed chief executive of Mansion Gibraltar on January 13, 2017, and continued as de facto chief financial officer.
However, Manasco stepped down from his role in December 2021 amid an ongoing disciplinary investigation.