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ASIC to pay legal costs in One-Tel debacle

ASIC to pay legal costs in One-Tel debacle

ONE-TEL founder Jodee Rich and the company’s former finance director Mark Silbermann have been awarded costs in a landmark win over the corporate regulator.

The NSW Supreme Court had dismissed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s case against the pair.

In court today, Justice Robert Austin ordered ASIC pay both men their legal costs from the proceedings. Both have requested lump sums, plus interest, be paid to them.

The NSW Supreme Court had said earlier this month that ASIC had failed to prove any aspect of its allegations, which claimed Rich and Silbermann had failed to meet their duty of care in the months leading to the former company’s collapse in 2001.

The amount the pair will receive and the way the sum is to be calculated remains undecided.

As reported by The Australian newspaper today, defence counsel, David Williams SC, told reporters outside the court that he could not talk about the size of the costs, but Rich has earlier indicated they were around the $15 million mark.

The Court’s Justice Austin, said its cost assessment procedure was not suited to cover a large litigation case in which cost would reach “some millions of dollars”.

ASIC’s barrister, Philip Durack SC, indicated that his client had no objection to paying costs on a so-called “party-party” basis, which typically involves a court official or lawyer chosen from a court panel assessing reasonable costs.

Meanwhile, barrister Williams said his clients want the sum to determined by mediation or, failing that, for Justice Austin to determine a lump sum.

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