Gadens Lawyers has been ordered to pay $4.9 million to Aussie founder John Symond after home loan advice it offered that landed him in trouble with the tax office.
As reported by Australian Broker, Symond won a multimillion-dollar court case against the Gadens in July over an $11m tax bill. However, the two sides have remained on relatively good terms, with the law firm continuing to represent Aussie Home Loans.
Symond initially launched the lawsuit after being forced to pay a ‘substantial amount’ of tax, penalties and interest to the tax office following a 2007 audit. His legal representatives claimed Gadens’ advice on the restructuring of the Aussie group was wrong and resulted in ‘double taxation’. The iconic broker had initially sought advice about a way to borrow money from the business without the funds, totalling $57m over three years, being taxed in his hands.
Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones subsequently ruled that ‘aggressive and wrong’ advice given by ex-Gadens partner, Ross Seller, between 2003 and 2004 was ‘negligent’, ‘misleading’ and in breach of the firm’s contract of retainer.
On Thursday, the judge ordered Gadens to pay Symond $4.9 million in damages in the NSW Supreme Court. Symond is now reportedly pursuing the law firm for legal costs.