|Pankaj and Radhika Oswal
Barry Raymond Cooke is one such expert. Cooke was engaged by Pankaj Oswal to produce expert witness reports about PPB Advisory's handling of the receivership of Oswal's Burrup Fertilisers Group (BFG).
In the bitter litigation that's played out between BFG founder Oswal, his lender ANZ Bank and PPB, the Dubai-based fertiliser tycoon has lined up PPB partners Ian Carson, Simon Theobald and David McEvoy for special retribution, motivated by what Oswal claims was flagrant overcharging during the 13 months they were receivers.
Oswal is out for blood. In his statement of relief filed on 1 April 2015, he sought orders which would effectively see Carson, McEvoy and Theobald disqualified from acting as official liquidators or liquidators for seven years.
The alleged excesses are well catalogued. Wives, children and partners accompanying PPB staff as they travelled each week from Melbourne to Perth. Alleged gross inflation of costs - Oswal and his wife Radhika claim the receivers charged almost $20,000 to fill out a form - reclassifying work so that it would be paid for by Burrup Fertilisers Pty Ltd (BFPL), rather than by ANZ or the receivers themselves.
The appointment lasted just 13 months and in that time PPB and legal advisers Herbert Smith Freehills and Minter Ellison reportedly billed almost $34 million. One of the receivers, Melbourne-based partner Carson, has even admitted that things could've been done better, though PPB insists it has at all times acted within the law and in accordance with the applicable professional standards.