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$100m at stake as AJA and Gore fight over Current TV

Former vice-president Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera Americas (AJA) over what he alleges are missing payments in AJA’s purchase of Current TV where he was a director.

When Current TV was sold to AJA the merger agreement provided for $75 million of the sale’s proceeds to be held in an escrow account for a period of 18 months ending in July 2014. The money would be returned to the sellers, former Current Media members, less any amount Al-Jazeera successfully claimed under indemnification provisions for things such as breaches of Current Media’s representations and warranties.

AJA made 5 claims against that indemnification account just five days before the 18 months was up.

The arguments and counter-arguments are now rumbling through the US legal system. But a Delware Chancery Court vice chancellor, Judge Sam Glasscock, in a written opinion, says AJA could justifiably seek indemnification from Mr Gore and his partners for both actual and potential claims even though AJA failed to meet certain requirements when alerting Current TV of their claims.

The Judge criticised the legal contract’s language between Current TV and AJA as “poor”, nevertheless he permitted the AJA claim to be allowed into the case – totalling $107 million. This does not mean that this amount will end up being awarded against Al Gore. However, AJA’s lawyers described the ruling as a “substantial victory” at this stage in the case.

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