Tycoons’ sons face hefty One.Tel bill

In a report investigating the collapse of the Australian telecom, administrators Ferrier Hodgson said: ‘Depending on the relevant date of insolvency, the likely range of any claims against the directors may be in the order of A$20m and A$80m.’

The firm said One.Tel probably went insolvent some time in March or April 2001, putting the company in breach of Australian corporate law, which makes it illegal for a company to continue to trade while insolvent.

Both Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer were directors at One.Tel when it collapsed and could be forced to cough up A$80m (Pounds 28.6m). Co-founders Jodee Rich and Bradley Keeling, finance director Mark Silbermann and operations director Kevin Beck could also be personally liable, under Australian law.

Ferrier Hodgson has estimated that unsecured creditors are owed between A$133m (Pounds 48m) and A$633m (Pounds 230m), while employees are owed A$17m (Pounds 6m).

Payment of claims to unsecured creditors are dependent on whether US technology company Lucent , which built One.Tel’s mobile network, is successful in its A$957m (Pounds 357m) claim against One.Tel

Centrica (formerly British Gas) recently bought the UK arm of One.Tel, for Pounds 58m.


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