Fallen Hunter winemaker David James loses yet another appeal in his battle with the ANZ

By , 25/04/2020 19:36

Fallen: Former winemaker David James leaves a Sydney court after charges linked to a major fraud investigation. FALLEN Hunter winemaker and former millionaire David James has handed the ANZ Bank a small positive in the first week of torrid financial services royal commission public hearings.

The bank’s 2014 judgment against Mr James for $13.9 million, plus costs, is now apparently free and clear of legal action after he lost the last of a series of appeals following the decision.

The bad news is a court in October was told he’s on Centrelink benefits and living withhis mother. His former home, Killara at Whitebridge, remains on the market at $6.1 million after a $4.2 million “sale” fell through in November.

Selling agent Andrew McGrath at First National Blacksmiths helpfully notes it can be picked up with monthly loan repayments of about $24,000, and a stamp duty fee of $367,000.

Three judges of the Court of Appeal on Thursday upheld a decision by Supreme Court Justice James Stevenson to dismiss Mr James’case that receivers appointed by the ANZ bank sold the assets of two of his liquidated companies for less than their market value.

Mr James argued his companies TLT Nominees and Newcastle Liquor Wholesalers, which owed the ANZ $13.92 million, suffered losses of $19.42 million because of the asset sales between August 2013 and May 2014. The assets included wine stocks.

Between 2005 and 2010 Mr James gave the ANZ four guarantees about how much in debt his companies were. The ANZ appointed receivers in August 2013. Mr James consented to a judgment against him in May 2014 acknowledging the bank was owed $13.92 million.

Mr James launched Supreme Court action against the ANZ and receivers in February 2016 after receivers gave the ANZ $2.17 million from the sale of TLT and NLW assets.

The Court of Appeal noted that Mr James did not seek damages from the receivers or the ANZ, but wanted his liability to the bank to be reduced by the amount he alleged was lost because of the asset sale.

His case was rejected after the appeal court confirmed Mr James’ right to pursue itceased once he consented to the original $13.9 million judgment in the ANZ bank’s favour.

Mr James is facing charges that he intimidated and harassed his estranged wife Trudy and tried to make her divulge her involvement in a police investigation.

The charges were brought by detectives from the State Crime Command’s fraud and cybercrime squad, who are investigating how $5 million worth of ‘s best wines vanished amid the wreckage of Mr James’ liquidated Hunter Valley wine empire.

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