One.Tel liquidator sues shareholders

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One.Tel liquidator sues shareholders

Packer, Murdoch served ahead of AGM.

Liquidators of failed telco One.Tel have filed a lawsuit against its shareholders including James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch, Consolidated Media Holdings and News Ltd.

It pertained to One.Tel's cancellation of a fully underwritten $132 million capital raising on 29 May, 2001 - the day the company went into administration.

Special Purpose Liquidator Paul Weston of Pitcher Partners yesterday said he had launched an investigation at the direction of the NSW Supreme Court.

Other shareholders included in the statement of claim were: Consolidated Press Holdings, Peter Yates, Peter Macourt and subsidiaries associated with the companies.

Weston said the lawsuit was supported by a confidential, independent funder, "following careful assessment of the merits of the action by the funder".

"I consider the case against the defendants to be strong and the prosecution of the claim to be in the best interests of creditors," he said.

"I will continue to work diligently to fulfil my responsibilities as [liquidator] and work with only the best interests of all creditors in mind as I have done since I was appointed by the court."

Reports in The Age and The Australian valued the lawsuit at $244 million for damages and interest.

According to The Age, proceeds of the lawsuit would go to One.Tel's creditors including Optus, Cisco Systems and Telstra, which were still owed $284 million.

Consolidated Media Holdings today announced that it would "strongly defend the proceedings".

Earlier this year, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission abandoned a four-year, $14 million case against One.Tel.

One.Tel was expected to have its annual general meeting of creditors on Thursday.

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