Settlement for ex-Bond company
Australia's most expensive and longest running court case involving Alan Bond's Bell Group has ended in a settlement for an undisclosed sum.
The case began in 1995 after a consortium of 20 banks, including Westpac and Lloyds TSB Bank, provided various Bell companies with loans amounting to about $265 million.
Bell's liquidators claimed the loans had been improperly recovered by the banks when the Bell Group collapsed in 1991.
The banks had agreed in 1990 to extend the loans to allow the Bell Group to restructure and remain afloat, and in exchange were given guarantees and security over its publishing assets, shares in Bell Resources and other minor assets.
At the time, Bell Group was on the brink of insolvency.
In 2008, the banks were found by West Australian Supreme Court judge Justice Neville Owen to be liable as knowing recipients of the company's trust property.
The next year, Justice Owen ordered the banks to repay about $350 million in principal, which, together with compound interest, resulted in a $1.66 billion award to the Bell companies.
Last year, the Court of Appeal confirmed Justice Owen's major findings against the banks and increased the interest rate.
The banks paid about $718 million to the liquidators but appealed the interest rate.
On Tuesday, the parties announced the matter had been settled.
Despite standing to recover some part of the funds ultimately available for distribution to creditors, the banks have agreed to release their claims.
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