Banksia plaintiffs offered $10.6 million to settle | The mail

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Banksia Securities debenture holders have been offered a $10.6 million settlement to end their longstanding Supreme Court case – a figure half of what the presiding judge ordered against participants in a fraudulent attempt to overcharge their customers. A group of lawyers trading as Australia Funding Partners Limited (AFPL), a funder of the class action, were defendants in Bolitho v Banksia Securities Ltd. trying to get rich at the expense of their clients. His damning judgment against AFPL leaders found that the men had tried to set up a fraudulent scheme to enrich themselves at the expense of the investors who were running the deal by charging exorbitant fees and costs. The Courier understands that the $10.6 million offer does not include damages awarded by the judge and that the payment would be partially covered by the lawyers’ professional liability insurance. It is unclear how the payment would be split between the defendants. No decision on the offer has been made at this stage, which is being reviewed by lawyers for the Banksia plaintiffs. The Supreme Court awarded plaintiffs $11.7 million in damages and at least $10 million in costs in October last year. Former QC Norman O’Bryan and barrister Michael Symons filed for bankruptcy after Judge John Dixon found they were liable. Both men were removed from the list of Victorian jurists and Judge Dixon ordered his reasons referred to prosecutors for criminal investigation. “They were a tight-knit group of scoundrels, working together on many cases over the eight-year period of this litigation,” attorneys for the Banksia plaintiffs said. Legal reporting website Lawyerly reports the bid comes as Victoria’s coroner rules the deaths of two of AFPL’s lawyers, Mark Elliott, in February 2020 and Peter Trimbos in September 2021, were suicides. Deputy State Coroner Caitlin English said in February that both men’s mental health had been affected by Banksia’s proceedings. “I am satisfied that at the time of his death, Mr. Elliott’s mental health was affected by ongoing legal proceedings relating to his conduct in the class action, which could have led to the acknowledgment or suspicion that ‘he would likely lose his career and face significant damages,’ she said.


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