Acting Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Businessman fights order to pay ex $5.5m

File Photo
File Photo

A businessman is fighting a court order to pay his former partner more than $5.5 million.

The man was this afternoon given the chance to appeal the order provided he pays all outstanding legal costs to his ex and $524,000 to the court by August 12.

The Court of Appeal's Justice Tony Randerson said today that the man was seeking an indulgence in his late filing of the challenge and "had been in serious contempt of court for a lengthy period".

The costs requirement was appropriate, the judge said.

"This is one of the most egregious cases of repeated abuse of the court's processes encountered in this court's collective experience," Justice Randerson said.

"It is unnecessary to rehearse in detail the applicant's repeated refusal over a period of seven years to comply with the orders of the court and his persistent efforts to delay the proceedings. This can only be regarded as a cynical attempt to deny the respondent her proper share of relationship property and, by a process of attrition, to force her to give up her attempts to secure justice," he said.

Despite "grave concerns" about the man's actions to date, Justice Randerson said it was in the interests of justice to allow the hearing of the late appeal, provided the costs and other conditions are met.

The former couple separated in 2009 after a 14-year relationship.

The man, described in 2013 by a judge as playing a "protracted game of chicken" with the High Court, lives in Australia and has businesses on both sides of the Tasman.

He was barred in 2014 from taking any further part in the High Court-leg of the relationship property fight and there remains an outstanding order for his arrest after he failed to met the terms of a freezing order.

Notwithstanding his attempts to slow the progress of the seven-year stoush, Justice Rebecca Ellis last October ordered the man pay his former partner almost $5.6 million

This amount was a mix of her share of relationship assets, as well as compensation and maintenance.

The woman in the dispute has name suppression and the identity of her former partner was kept secret by the Court of Appeal.

- NZ Herald

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