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BFCSA: ANZ commits FRAUD and then wants settlement CONFIDENTIALITY? That's a Cover -UP Mike Smith! Bugger Off!

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Bad Bank of the Week is ANZ re its TIMBERCORP maneuvers. Wants confidential settlements to settle for pocket money, bury the bodies and then COVER IT ALL UP.  


Timbercorp victims get four-week respite from writs

Author: Adele Ferguson, Ruth Williams
Date: 13/12/2014
Words: 688
Source: AGE


Publication: The Age
Section: Business
Page: 9


Thousands of victims of collapsed agribusiness spruiker Timbercorp have been given a four-week reprieve from the threat of being served a writ to repay a combined $394 million in loans owed to creditors that include ANZ Bank.

Timbercorp's liquidator, KordaMentha, has also appointed former senior executive of Consumer Action Law Centre, Catriona Lowe, as an independent hardship advocate to help strike a "compassionate" deal for victims who are facing hardship after losing their life savings from shoddy advice to invest in the company's schemes.

But at least one Timbercorp investor says she refused to strike a deal because it involved a strict gag order on the terms of the settlement.

The actions come as a rising number of victims has lobbied politicians in recent months, saying they will be forced into bankruptcy - or worse - if they have to pay back the loans.   They also come as a Supreme Court judge has called for "compassion and understanding" in relation to investors in Timbercorp's failed rival Great Southern, following a class-action settlement that will return investors a negligible amount.

Timbercorp collapsed in April 2009 leaving a trail of destruction, with some investors having geared their houses to invest in the managed investment scheme spruiker that has been described as a "ponzi scheme".   More than half the loans have been repaid but the dollar value of those still outstanding has blown out to $390 million due to accrued interest and penalty rates.

KordaMentha had been issuing up to 70 writs a week to Timbercorp investor growers to get in before a statute of limitations kicks in next year. Senator Sam Dastyari has been vocal in calling on KordaMentha and ANZ to go easy on the victims. He said suspending the writs was a step in the right direction but there still was a long way to go to reach an adequate outcome for victims. "If they think the problem will go away they are kidding themselves," he said.

The liquidator has set up a special scheme for hardship cases but only 7.3 per cent or 197 of the 2714 borrowers with outstanding loans have so far applied.   Ian and Meredith Byrne, who were forced to sell their home a few months ago and were recently served a writ, decided to apply for a hardship policy earlier this month.

Meredith told Fairfax Media she decided to settle after appearing at a senate hearing last month. "After the hearing we went home and I was at the lowest point through this whole process I have ever been," she says. "The inquiry was positive but I felt I couldn't have it hanging over my head any longer. I needed to get on with my life," she says.

Meredith was a victim of banned and bankrupt financial planner Peter Holt, and during the hearing said her financial future had been "decimated". She says she still wants some justice but she decided to meet with KordaMentha partner Craig Shepard to apply for a hardship policy. "We decided to take a leap of faith and we have a favourable outcome, we can reclaim our lives," she says.

But the terms of settlement on hardship policies include that the deals remain confidential, a condition that does not sit well with members of the Holt Norman Ashman Baker (HNAB) support group. Member Susan Henry, a former trauma counsellor, said she had turned down a settlement offer that involved wiping her $120,000 loan in return for signing a non-disclosure contract and relinquishing $9000 owed to her by Timbercorp.

"I said that I would not agree because I did not want to be used to convey to people that I had paid money [even by relinquishing it] and make other victims think they should make a monetary proposal," she said. "I said I could not be bought and that truth and ethics are important to me. I said it was not reasonable they keep the funds owed to me, or try to silence me for their purposes and that I believe Holt victims are owed restitution and compensation & I won't be used."


KordaMentha's Andrew Ryan said confidentiality was a condition because each applicant had varying degrees of hardship. 

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  • Wayne
    Wayne Sunday, 14 December 2014

    Great to see someone taking it on... DON"T settle for pittance & most of all "EXPOSE" them for us all to see ..GOOD LUCK

    Reply Cancel
  • organza
    organza Sunday, 14 December 2014

    Makes you wonder how many have been silenced for a pittance. It's all part of the corrupt system making people believe their offer is take or leave it and banking on them accepting a pittance in return for buttoning their lips if they accept with Plan B being to wear down those who are onto them and have the courage to refuse.

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  • Louie2U
    Louie2U Monday, 23 February 2015

    This is precisely why a full Royal Commission is required. One that includes all these 'hangers on' to the process such as the leeches of insolvency. I have experienced their dirty tricks first hand and do not have a single good word to say about these leeches of society. You have to remember who engages these blood suckers and who they report to first then you can understand how low they feed and that they will stop at nothing (even if it is improper practices) to get their end result.

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