A high-profile Indian-origin couple, Pankaj and his wife Radhika Oswal has launched over $1.5 billion dollar lawsuit, one of the biggest in Australia's legal history, against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) bank for allegedly undervaluing shares of their fertiliser company to recoup millions in debts. The case revolves around the forced sale of the Oswals Western Australian-based company Burrup Fertilisers after it was seized by receivers in 2010.
The couple accused ANZ of underselling shares in their West Australian fertilizer company after it was seized by receivers.
Opening the case in Victoria's Supreme Court, senior counsel for the Oswals, Tony Bannon, said his clients' 65% stake in Burrup Fertilisers was sold for $400 million in 2010. Bannon further said that he will demonstrate to the court that the true value of the couple's shares was in fact $990 million.
"Our evidence will demonstrate the current value is in the order of 2.36 billion Australian dollars ($1.68 billion)," he said.
Oswal also claimed that they were bullied by ANZ executives during the sale six years ago, alleging that one executive put him in a headlock and threatened to "destroy" him before Burrup went into receivership.
A $50 million house dubbed the "Taj Mahal on the Swan River" was left half-completed by the couple when they were forced to sell their share in Burrup as well as a luxury jet worth tens of millions of dollars and a fleet of luxury cars.
The couple recently found themselves in significant debt, when the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) issued a departure prohibition over an unpaid $136 million Tax Bill. The trial has already cost tens of millions of dollars with around 25 barristers appearing in court on both sides.