Melbourne, Sep 22 (IANS) One of Australia’s biggest banks reached a settlement with an Indian couple on Thursday who sued the company for $1.9 billion.
Pankaj and Radhika Oswal alleged that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) short-changed them $580 million when selling the couple’s majority stake in Burrup Fertilisers after the company went into receivership, Xinhua news agency reported.
ANZ said the terms of the settlement were confidential but the deal with the Oswals meant the bank would take a $110 million hit to its bottom line this year.
A spokesperson for the Oswals said the couple, who also settled a tax bill with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) worth an estimated $76.4 million, would be leaving Australia.
“They’re very satisfied with the settlement. They were very pleased to be able to put the facts before the court and they’re pleased that it’s over,” the spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.
“They won’t be staying in Australia. They are now planning their futures.”
“The ($110 million) does not reflect the size of the settlement but the Oswals are bound by confidentiality to not disclose the details.”
Shayne Elliott, CEO of ANZ, said that the settlement does not mean the bank has accepted guilt.
“ANZ does not accept many of the claims made in court and we completely reject the allegations made against our staff,” Elliott said in a statement to shareholders.
“However, we believe the settlement is the right decision for shareholders bearing in mind the residual risks in a case of this size and complexity.”
The Oswals’ spokesman said it was “curious” that the bank would be willing to pay a significant amount of money to stop allegations that it claimed were untrue.
The Oswals were forced to abandon the construction of their Perth mega-mansion, dubbed “the Taj on the Swan” due to its position on the Swan River, in 2010.
A local council announced in September that the 6,600 sq.mt house, which the couple planned to spend $53 million to build, would be demolished and turned into road-building material.