Hellas liquidators say TPG and Apax left it insolvent

Hellas Telecommunications (Luxembourg) II SCA’s liquidators sued TPG Capital Management LP and Apax Partners LLP for more than $1.3 billion, saying the private equity firms left the wireless company insolvent.

The suit seeks “redress for one of the very worst abuses of the private equity industry,” Andrew Hosking and Simon Bonney, the liquidators, said in a complaint filed on Thursday (local time) in US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, where the company sought protection from creditors in February 2012.

Hellas was one of Greece’s first two wireless operators (originally operating under the name Telestet).

Apax and TPG in 2005 acquired the company, then called TIM Hellas, from Telecom Italia SpA for about 1.6 billion euros, London-based Apax’s first investment in Greece.

The liquidators said the firms used Hellas “to carry out the highly leveraged acquisition of a pair of Greek businesses” and caused the company to borrow more than 1 billion euros in additional funds that were “immediately siphoned out of the company without consideration.”

Less than two months later, TPG and Apax disposed of Hellas and its affiliates, “pocketing a windfall and leaving behind an insolvent company staggering towards bankruptcy,” according to the filing.