Eric Watson has run out of trumps and the game is almost over.

Yesterday's High Court ruling that companies he owns are liable for $51.5 million in back-taxes plus interest (estimated at $60.5m) will be extremely hard for the once high-flying businessman to come back from.

Subject to appeal, the decision doesn't specify penalty interest which is likely to add millions more to the final figure.


The case, which centred on a complicated series of related-party loans using Cayman Islands vehicles to avoid paying tax, looks like the final chapter of a highly controversial business career spanning three decades.