ASIC out $1.8 million (so far) on Wagyu and Shiraz case

ASIC out $1.8 million (so far) on Wagyu and Shiraz case

Myriam Robin – The AFR – Tuesday 11 August 2020

Meanwhile, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s unsuccessful litigation against Westpac for alleged breaches of responsible lending legislation has cost it $1.8 million. So far.

The figure, revealed in an answer to a question on notice from Liberal senator James Paterson filed last week, does include its pre-litigation costs, but doesn’t include the money Westpac spent defending itself. The majority of which ASIC will now also have to pay, given it lost, twice. Three times, really, if you count Justice Nye Perram’s refusal to let Westpac settle for $35 million in 2018.

ASIC decided against appealing to the High Court last month, a decision it pegged to the “current challenging economic circumstances”. To the government’s relief.

Earlier, its case was memorably demolished by Perram, who took issue with ASIC’s critique of how banks assessed a would-be borrower’s spending. (“I may eat Wagyu beef every day washed down with the finest shiraz but, if I really want my new home, I can make do on much more modest fare,” Perra said.)

Now if only some enterprising senator would ask ASIC what it spent chasing ex-Tennis Australia directors Harold Mitchell and Steven Healy through the courts for alleged breaches of director’s duties, to some success in Mitchell’s case and none at all in Healy’s.

A gleeful Mitchell reckoned $20 million, but that sounds rather optimistic …

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