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One.Tel liquidator may sue Packer and Murdoch again

ONE.TEL'S special purpose liquidator, Paul Weston, is considering using a new legal avenue to sue James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch, he told creditors in a report prepared for their 10th annual meeting since the phone company's collapse.

ONE.TEL'S special purpose liquidator, Paul Weston, is considering using a new legal avenue to sue James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch, he told creditors in a report prepared for their 10th annual meeting since the phone company's collapse.

The NSW Supreme Court dismissed in May his first attempt to sue the former One.Tel directors and companies associated with them for $250 million.

Mr Weston has filed an appeal against that ruling.

In his report to creditors, he said that in the meantime he was considering fresh proceedings under the law of equity, which could recover a higher sum.

The dismissed suit, whose defendants included Consolidated Media Holdings and News Ltd, contained claims under common law and for breaches of the Corporations Act and the Trade Practices Act. The case related to the cancellation of a $132 million rights issue, which Consolidated Media and News had agreed to underwrite. Justice Julie Ward dismissed it because extensions to the statutory limitation for proceeding with it should not have been granted.

In her May judgment, Justice Ward said she accepted a submission from Mr Weston's barrister, John Karkar, QC, that if his client launched fresh equitable claims over the abandoned rights issue it was arguable that no statutory limitation period applied.

Mr Karkar said the equitable claims available were breaches of fiduciary duties by allegedly conflicted One.Tel directors, including Mr Packer and Mr Murdoch, accessorial liability by companies associated with them, and claims for unconscientious conduct against all defendants.


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