A controversial investment in the Auckland Albany Heights residential development has resulted in Wellington law firm Harkness Law, which is now part of Gibson Sheat, reaching a confidential settlement in respect of legal proceedings brought by liquidators and a Singaporean investor.
The settlement was reportedly reached at the end of last year. LawFuel reported on the property investment debacle some time ago as the litigation has dragged on for four years.
NBR have reported that the settlement is a low seven figure sum, including a substantial
amount for liquidation costs and associated fees at well over $500,000. The liquidation
report released this week showed settlement funds of $474,000 and GST received of over $97,000.
However for investors in the failed scheme there remains around $21.5 million owed by
two companies who were involved in the development at its early stages in 2010.
The original scheme saw the intellectual property rights sold to Paul Bublitz, formerly
of Strategic Finance Ltd and Christopher Cook, an Auckland developer. They used the
development to market in Asia with the assistance of ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Jordan Belfort.
THe scheme failed and was sold to Christchurch businessman William Yan aka Bill Liu.
The problem for Harkness Law principal John Harkness, who denied liability, was when
Singaporean investors alleged his firm had permitted funds to be transferred from its
trust account to the developers which they say was against the agreement signed.