25/09/2009 - 14:31

$1.5bn Bell Group payout to be withheld

25/09/2009 - 14:31

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A Supreme Court judge has ordered the $1.5 billion owed to liquidators of Alan Bond's former Bell Group of companies be either put into a Public Trust or a bank account with one of the major banks.

$1.5bn Bell Group payout to be withheld

A Supreme Court judge has ordered the $1.5 billion owed to liquidators of Alan Bond's former Bell Group of companies be either put into a Public Trust or a bank account with one of the major banks.

Justice Christine Wheeler delivered the judgment today after a syndicate of banks, led by Westpac Banking Corporation, applied for an order to suspend payment to liquidators.

The application followed Justice Neville Owen's judgment earlier this year to award more than $1.5 billion to the liquidators, the largest payout ever awarded in Australia.

The banks have lodged an appeal.

The liquidators had claimed the banks took advantage of Bell Group in its dying days, securing lucrative assets in return for refinancing.

Following Justice Owen's judgment, the banking syndicate submitted a number of options for the payout in a bid to safeguard the money if it won the appeal.

Today, Justice Wheeler said the banks could either park the money into a bank account with any of the big four Australian banks or HSBC Bank Australia or Societe General, or pour it into the Public Trustee.

A spokesperson for law firm Freehills, which is representing the banks, told WA Business News the funds will need to be paid by October 30.

Meantime, The Bell Group intends to submit a cross-appeal, with the deadline set at October 2.

 

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