Mel facing court over Green Rubber shares
Mel Gibson, as we often read and hear, has struggled to keep his nose clean in recent years. From allegations of racism and homophobia to well-publicised rants, the US-born actor has become a magnet for negative media attention. But at least he’s managed to avoid the attention of Tyres & Accessories, right?
Celebrity news website tmz.com has obtained a copy of a lawsuit one Nader Sherif lodged against Mel Gibson on June 13; the gist of the lawsuit is that Gibson, during a trip to Latin America in early 2007, began “soliciting” Sherif to invest in Malaysia-based Green Rubber, a company claiming to have developed a rubber devulcanisation technology. The lawsuit states that Gibson “represented to Sherif that Green Rubber was a new ‘green’ rubber company that was going to be wildly successful and that he should seriously consider investing into it.” Despite Sherif’s initial reluctance to invest in a company he knew little about, Gibson is alleged to have repeatedly discussed the issue with Sherif – the lawsuit describes his communication as “persistent solicitation”. Eventually, according to the lawsuit, Sherif was won over by Gibson’s assurance that he would, should Green Rubber refuse to repurchase Sherif’s shares upon demand, personally buy them at the original price. Sherif invested US$200,000, a sum described as his life savings, in return for 130,000 shares in Green Rubber.
In July 2008, a year after his initial investment, Sherif allegedly had not received his Green Rubber stock certificate despite “countless requests” nor had he received a shareholders’ report from the company. The lawsuit states he wrote to Vinod Sekhar, president and chief executive of Green Rubber parent company the Petra Group, exercising his “put option” to have the 130,000 shares repurchased. Sekhar responded that the shares would be repurchased, however several days later Gibson allegedly contacted Sherif and discouraged him from exercising his option by saying the shares were going to be “huge”. Following this communication, Sekhar also allegedly contacted Sherif and discouraged him from exercising his option. Sherif then withdrew his demand.
Sherif is said to have once again contacted Green Rubber in December 2008 to exercise his option, and the lawsuit says that he notified the company “innumerable times” between then and October 2009 in order to get his $200,000 back. Sherif received a number of assurances from Sekhar that Green Rubber would repurchase the shares, however the repurchase did not take place. Therefore, Sherif is said to have approached Gibson on the basis of the actor’s promise to repurchase the shares should Green Rubber not do so. The lawsuit states that “multiple demands” were made, most recently on or about March 26, 2010. It adds that Gibson “wholly ignored” this most recent demand.
“In breach of his contract with Plaintiff, Gibson has refused to purchase Plaintiff’s shares, which has caused and continues to cause Plaintiff and his family damage and serious financial hardship,” the lawsuit states. Therefore Nader Sherif seeks $200,000 plus interest at the maximum legal rate from Gibson. His representative, California-based trial attorneys Murphy Rosen Meylan & Davitt LLP, has also requested a trial by jury.
Tmz.com noted that it could “not reach Mel’s rep for comment.” The original lawsuit document can be read on the tmz.com website.