SMH: Bill Lewski pays nothing to walk away from $190M Prime Trust suit – but lawyers pay up

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The Herald is reporting exclusively today that the “controversially forgetful” businessman has paid zero to settle the $40 million in claims before the Supreme Court of Victoria that has resulted from the long-running case against the retirement village trust.

Instead, most of the settlement is believed to have been paid by Melbourne law firm Madgwicks, with the rest of the claim settled by a combination of Lendlease, which inherited the management rights through its acquisition of Babcock and Brown Communities, investment bank Kidder Williams and auditors Pitcher Partners.

Prime Trust’s liquidators at PKF and receivers at KordaMentha had alleged that Mr Lewski was wrongly given $33 million in consultation fees and another $60 million for the management rights of the villages owned by the company, but Mr Lewski claims he cannot remember what happened to the money.

As we covered here, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has lodged an application with the High Court to appeal the Federal Court’s decision last year to throw out its case to ban Mr Lewski and Prime Trust’s former directors as company officers.

The litigation funder is expected to receive nearly half of the settlement proceeds, with little to go to the 8,000 unitholders who lost their investment when Prime Trust collapsed in 2010.