The Queensland Court of Appeal has upheld a payment to a burnt Opes Prime client.
Brisbane businessman Nicholas Mather, the owner of private company Samuel Holdings, deposited $74,600 with Opes Prime just prior to its collapse in 2008.
In a ruling in the Queensland Supreme Court on 6 December 2010 Justice Paul de Jersey ordered the Securities Exchange Corporation, which oversees the fund, to pay almost $47,000 compensation plus interest to Samuel Holdings.
Mather had previously received $27,602 from the Opes Prime liquidators, with the payout ordered by the Supreme Court being the difference between his previous payment and his original investment.
The Securities Exchange Corporation operates National Guarantee Fund which had previously rejected all claims by Opes Prime clients. The Securities Exchange Corporation then appealed against this judgment.
Clayton Utz acted for the Securities Exchange Corporation.
"There was nothing different raised in the appeal matter," said HopgoodGanim dispute resolution partner Liam Prescott, who led his firm's team in acting for Samuel Holdings. "It was seen as a test case, as the fund didn't win in the first instance. They invested in a Court of Appeal proceeding to see if the first instance decision was correct, and they have had a 3-0 decision coming back saying it was."
HopgoodGanim has counted Mather, the current chief executive officer of D'Aguilar Gold Limited, as a client for many years. The firm acted for him in 2008 in relation to the collapse of Opes Prime where he was required to sue the administrator as a receiver of Opes Prime in relation to Waratah Coal Shares, a company which he founded. That litigation settled on a confidential basis.
Opes Prime collapsed in March 2008 with around $1 billion owing in secured debt to ANZ and Merrill Lynch.