Warren Anderson (Australian businessman)

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Warren Perry Anderson is an Australian businessman and speculative investor whose net worth in 1990 was estimated by the BRW magazine at $190 million, though the following year he was reported to have debts of $500 million.[1] He has been a principal in major developments in Perth, Darwin and Melbourne. He has owned prestigious properties such as Boomerang, a mansion in Sydney's eastern suburbs, and Tipperary, a premier cattle and crop station in the Northern Territory. He has claimed to have been unfairly stripped of A$50 million in the course of the WA Inc bailout of Rothwells Bank, and was involved in the collapse of Firepower International.

Family[edit]

In April 2010, '"Magistrate Pamela Hogan found Anderson not guilty of assaulting Mrs Bell but guilty of assaulting his wife by grabbing her arm .....he will not have a criminal record".[2] At issue was an "acrimonious Family Court battle".[3] After 42 years of marriage, the couple organised an auction sale of their 30-year collection of fine art and antiquities in 1400 lots, described as "almost certainly the largest sale of fine art and antiquities in Australia",[4] which realised A$13.1million.[5]

Career and associations[edit]

Anderson has been associated with some of Australia's largest developments – the $1 billion-plus Westralia Square skyscraper in Perth, 50 Coles and K mart supermarkets around Australia, the new Parliament House complex in Darwin, and at least six major office blocks in the Melbourne CBD, including redevelopment of the Windsor Hotel site opposite Parliament House. He has conducted dealings and partnerships with billionaire businessman Kerry Packer, John Roberts of the construction giant Multiplex, which built most of his developments, and WA Inc entrepreneur Alan Bond. His political networking led to close associations with prominent ALP players Brian Burke, Paul Keating, Graham Richardson and many others.[1]

Investment controversies[edit]

Rothwells 'loan', 1988[edit]

Anderson had extensive property interests in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, including a mansion in Peppermint Grove, Perth and the vast Tipperary Station group (1 million hectares) on which he assembled a collection of 2000 exotic Asian and African animals before selling the property in 2003.[6] In association with media magnate Kerry Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings, he was negotiating a $270-million investment in a prime Perth CBD redevelopment prospect called Westralia Square, adjacent to the old Perth Technical School. He was persuaded to contribute $50 million to a bailout of Rothwells Bank by then-premier Peter Dowding. Anderson had agreed to the condition to hand over the $50 million in return for a tender agreement for the Westralia Square site which was being put up for sale by the WA government. Mr Packer declined to provide any of the $50 million attached to the deal. Anderson maintains that Dowding gave him a verbal assurance the state would guarantee return of his $50 million, but declined to put the agreement into writing.[7] Anderson has been unsuccessful in a legal action to recover the funds and pursued an appeal in the High Court.[8] In May 2010 the High Court rejected the appeal.[9]

Westralia Square[edit]

As stated above, Anderson and Kerry Packer invested $270 million and had grand plans to build on what they called Westralia Square, which is centrally located in the Perth CBD but has limited frontage to the prime roadway, St Georges Terrace, owing to a group of heritage buildings which were preserved from demolition by public protest with agreement of the Perth City Council. Plans for a $2 billion development by Indonesia's Samma Group fell through. Unable to recoup his Rothwells funds, Anderson left the project. After 15 years, Packer was obliged to sell his Westralia Square investment for a mere $19 million, taking a loss of more than $200 million.[10] The redevelopment was concluded in 2012 by Brookfield Multiplex who renamed it Brookfield Place.

Firepower fuel pill shares[edit]

During its 2008 investigation of the Australian operations of the fraudulent Firepower organisation, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) filed a Federal Court action against companies associated with Anderson and other directors and financial advisers alleged to have profited from sale of shares without the purchasers receiving a prospectus or appropriate information about the risk involved. (Anderson was not himself named as a defendant.[11]:p.191) Anderson's company Owston Nominees was alleged to have been issued 40 million one-cent shares in Firepower's Virgin-Islands-based parent company Firepower BVI in June 2005, which were onsold for up to 50c a share.[12][13]

In January 2010, Firepower's principal, Tim Johnston, said in court that he had been personally threatened with death by Mr Anderson, who was alleged to have previously employed enforcers from bikie groups, and Sydney personality Tom Domican.[14] The use of bikies as claimed by Tim Johnston was later described by Trevor Nairn as 'ridiculous' and 'offensive'.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ben Hills How Debt Is Sinking A Property Tycoon's Empire Sydney Morning Herald 28 December 1991, cited in debtconsolidations.com.au
  2. ^ Anderson found guilty of wife assault ABC News, 27 April 2010
  3. ^ Anderson found guilty of wife assault ABC News, 27 April 2010
  4. ^ Davies, Anne Under the hammer, the Anderson antiquities Sydney Morning Herald, 24 April 2010 (accessed 1 May 2010)
  5. ^ James Cockington Rarity has its own rewards Sydney Morning Herald, 29 September 2010
  6. ^ Myers puts Tipperary stations up for sale at Stock & Land News (Fairfax network)
  7. ^ Hayward A Businessman battles WA govt for $50m The Age, Melbourne, 22 July 2009
  8. ^ Anderson's WA Inc appeal thrown out ABC News 22 July 2009
  9. ^ Anderson's $90m WA Inc era claim toppled
  10. ^ Hawthorne M Perth mayor drops BHP HQ relocation bomb The Age, Melbourne, 13 March 2008
  11. ^ Ryle G Firepower: The most spectacular fraud in Australian history Allen & Unwin, Sydney 2009. ISBN 978-1-74175-355-4
  12. ^ Prichard J and Stanley W Millions made from Firepower: claim Sydney Morning Herald 23 July 2008
  13. ^ Perpitch N Anderson linked to Firepower collapse Sydney Morning Herald (BusinessDay) 4 September 2008
  14. ^ Firepower CEO told to dig own grave: court Sydney Morning Herald (BusinessDay) 20 January 2010 (attributed to AAP)
  15. ^ "Former Firepower CEO says bikie abduction claim 'ridiculous'" The Australian (Business) 21 January 2010