Saraceni wins early Raine Square hearing
Saraceni wins early Raine Square hearing

A Supreme Court judge has granted an early hearing to embattled developer Luke Saraceni as he fights to wrest his property empire back from Bankwest.

Justice Michael Corboy will begin a five-day hearing on July 4 into Mr Saraceni's claims of significant defects in the mortgage documents used by Bankwest to seize the $500 million Raine Square development in Perth's CBD and other assets.

Mr Saraceni and his Raine Square partner, Hossean Pourzand, are not only fighting to recover control of the city office development but IMF Australia, which is funding their action, has mooted damages actions against the bank of up to $200 million.

The bank has asked the court to fix any defects in the mortgage documents so it can complete Raine Square and sell assets in a bid to recover loans believed to total more than $330 million.

And in other matters linked to Raine Square, the Tax Office has asked the Federal Court to wind up a building company that had performed a significant amount of work on the tower for the project's major contractor, Salta.

The Tax Office claims that The Gallagher Group WA Pty Ltd, linked to former cage fighter Edmond "Monty" Margjini, has failed to pay $2 million-plus in tax, penalties and interest since a statutory demand was issued in April last year. The action is before the Federal Court on June 22.

Salta quit Raine Square in February last year amid disputes with Mr Saraceni and sub- contractors. Work did not restart until October.

Bankwest appointed KordaMentha receivers in January. A lawyer representing Bankwest and KordaMentha and a legal team representing Mr Saraceni were in the Supreme Court yesterday seeking access to documents.

The bank and KordaMentha want documents held by property finance specialist Mark Clohessy.

Mr Saraceni is seeking documents from the Office of State Revenue, which might have missed out on stamp duty on loan transactions, according to allegations made last month by the developer's lawyer, Martin Bennett.

Mr Bennett claimed Bankwest effectively recycled stamp duty that had been paid on a lapsed $43 million corporate mortgage held by St George Bank, Raine Square's former financier.

The case goes before Justice Corboy again on June 7 for a procedural hearing. <div class="endnote">

SARACEN TENDER PROPERTY 19 </div>

The West Australian

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