| July 17
July 17 Creditors of bankrupt gas station
operator Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc will pocket an extra $93
million under a settlement between Getty and its former parent,
Russian oil giant Lukoil, court papers show.
A litigation trust, established after Getty's liquidation to
pursue money for creditors, is finalizing settlement documents
with Lukoil, a source close to the matter said, halting a trial
that had been playing out since May in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
The deal still needs approval from bankruptcy Judge Shelley
Chapman. Papers filed on the court's electronic docket show the
sides have scheduled an approval hearing on July 29. The parties
expect to file settlement papers later on Wednesday, said the
source, who declined to be named because the deal was not final.
Getty declared bankruptcy in December 2011, eventually
appointing a trustee, Alfred Giuliano, to liquidate its assets
and pay back creditors. A key piece of Giuliano's strategy was
to sue Lukoil, saying the company stripped Getty of its best gas
stations and exacerbated its insolvency.
Giuliano alleged that Lukoil moved Getty's most profitable
stations to another subsidiary in 2009 in exchange for $120
million, far less than what Getty felt the assets were worth.
Under the settlement, Lukoil will pay the Getty estate an extra
$93 million, resolving both the trial and a separate dispute
between the parties over the allocation of tax benefits, court
Lukoil had no immediate comment. Andrew Goldman, an attorney
for Giuliano, said the trustee is "obviously quite supportive of
The case went to trial in May, but 13 of the 17 trial days
so far have been partly or fully restricted to the public, a
rare move in the bankruptcy realm, which puts a premium on
"The idea (of bankruptcy) is, in exchange for the benefits
of bankruptcy, debtors commit to opening all closets and drawers
so creditors can see what's there," David Skeel, a bankruptcy
expert at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, told
Reuters last month.
In Getty, the restrictions centered on sensitive
communications between the parties and their lawyers, according
to two people close to the matter.
During the 2009 transaction at the center of the dispute,
Lukoil's lawyers at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld
represented both the buyer and seller because, at the time,
Getty and Lukoil were part of the same corporate family.
Because Akin, Gump was on both sides of the deal, the
parties in the trial have access to information that would
normally be kept confidential due to attorney-client privilege,
said the people close to the matter. That information is fair
game in the trial, but still not fit for the public, those
As a result, the sides in 2012 hammered out a protective
order, signed by Judge Chapman, giving them broad leeway to seal
information deemed sensitive.
The uncharacteristic sealing has led to logistical issues in
managing the case, including the accidental release of sealed
Asked last month by Reuters for transcripts for all dates
that were public, Veritext LLC, a court transcription company,
supplied transcripts that included four days of trial that the
court later told Veritext should have been sealed.
In a statement, Veritext said "the transcripts were sent in
accordance with standard bankruptcy court procedure" but did not