Private investigator Bryan Cooper has stepped in as plaintiff on behalf of the estate of the late South African businessman Michael Kidd in his long-running legal action against his former business partner and former Huka Lodge owner Alex van Heeren.
Kidd, 77, died of pancreatic cancer in Gauteng, South Africa on February 18.
Under Kidd's will, dated October 22, 2020, he nominated Cooper as executor and made various directions as to the disposal of his assets.
In April 2015, High Court Justice John Fogarty ordered that van Heeren make an interim payment to Kidd of US$25 million ($34.2m) and that an account be taken between the two former partners to determine the full amount owed. Van Heeren was also required to cover Kidd's court costs.
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Van Heeren failed in a Court of Appeal bid to overturn a ruling that he pay US$25m as an interim measure to former business partner Kidd until they could agree on the full amount owed to the now deceased plaintiff as a result of their former business dealings.
He claimed he couldn't pay the US$25m because most of his assets had been transferred to tax haven-based entities over which he has no control.
The upshot is, Huka Lodge has since been sold and a case is under way in the Auckland High Court to finalise the amount that should be paid to Kidd's estate.
Kidd leaves behind a wife who lives in the UK and three sons, one of whom he was living with in South Africa since being diagnosed with terminal cancer in April 2020.
This lengthy dispute began in 1994 when Cooper came to New Zealand on Kidd's behalf to investigate the extent of his investments here.