Westpoint officers walk free

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ASIC yesterday announced that its case against Westpoint officers Norman Carey and Graeme Rundle will be dropped.

The surprise update comes after the emergence of a key document, two weeks into the trial. ASIC originally alleged that the men dishonestly backdated the transfer of an option to buy Warnbro Fair Shopping Centre (WFSC) knowing that their company was struggling.

Westpoint collapsed in 2006 with estimated losses to investors totalling approximately $310 million, according to ASIC.

In a statement, ASIC said that it had located a document relevant to the charges. The regulator immediately disclosed the document and copies were given to Carey and Rundle, and the court. Following an assessment of the document, the Commonwealth director of public prosecutions advised the District Court of Western Australia that the case should proceed no further and filed notices of discontinuance.

Carey told Fairfax that he would be suing the Commonwealth over the failed trial, with legal costs of at least $500,000. “I will definitely be suing ASIC to get back my cost and damages, what ASIC are facing is effectively wrongfully accusing someone,” he said.

It's understood the document was a detailed file from auditor KPMG which proves the option to buy the shopping centre was extended, and therefore the transfer was not backdated as alleged.