Case against Westpoint duo collapses

An asset-stripping case against former Westpoint officers Norman Carey and Graeme Rundle collapsed on Tuesday night after the surprise emergence of a key document two weeks into the trial.

An asset-stripping case against former Westpoint officers Norman Carey and Graeme Rundle collapsed on Tuesday night after the surprise emergence of a key document two weeks into the trial.

Mr Carey, whose property investment business Westpoint failed in 2006 owing investors more than $388 million, told BusinessDay he would sue the Commonwealth over the aborted trial, with his legal costs at least $500,000 and his reputation damaged. "This has hung over my head for the last five years and I've always maintained that I acted honestly," Mr Carey said. "I will definitely be suing ASIC to get back my cost and damages. What ASIC are facing is effectively wrongfully accusing someone."

In a brief statement released on Tuesday night the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said it had located an important document from a third party that ended its case against Mr Carey and his deputy Mr Rundle in the District Court of Western Australia. "In accordance with ASIC's procedural fairness obligations, ASIC immediately disclosed the document and copies were given to Mr Carey and Mr Rundle, and the court."

At the centre of the case was the allegation that Mr Rundle and his business Westpoint dishonestly backdated the transfer of an option to buy Perth's Warnbro Fair Shopping Centre knowing that the company was battling to survive.

It is believed the document is a file from auditor KPMG proving the option to buy the shopping centre was extended, and therefore the transfer was not backdated as alleged.

A spokesman for ASIC said the regulator would not comment further on the failed case.

"Following an assessment of the document in the context of the prosecution's case, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday advised the District Court of Western Australia that the case should proceed no further and filed notices of discontinuance," an ASIC statement said.

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