ASIC to appeal One.Tel ruling

Corporate watchdog to appeal in long-running battle

The corporate watchdog has decided to appeal a verdict by the NSW Supreme Court dismissing its claims against the founder of One.Tel, Jodee Rich, in a long running court battle.

In mid-November the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) lost a landmark case against the founder of One.Tel, which collapsed in late 2001 owing companies led by the Murdoch and Packer families about $1 billion.

In a statement, ASIC said it had "lodged a Notice of Intention to Appeal in the NSW Court of Appeal". The watchdog has until February 27, 2010, to commence the appeal.

In handing down the verdict in November, Justice Austin found ASIC's case had a "superficial appeal, but time and again they were shown to be unpersuasive when the underlying financial detail was investigated".

In one of the largest civil cases seen in NSW, ASIC alleged Rich and One.Tel's finance director, Mark Silbermann, had failed to meet their duty of care in the months leading up to the company's collapse in May 2001.

Rich and Silbermann escaped a corporate ban and compensation payments to creditors of about $92 million.

In the document, published digitally, Justice Robert Austin dropped another bombshell, saying said the telco would likely have survived if a proposed $132 million rights issue had been able to go ahead.

Additional reporting by AAP

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