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'How did Harry Triguboff know?' - The Australian Financial Review

By Alan J. McDonald


The Australian Financial Review quoted McDonald Murholme’s Senior Associate Andrew Jewell on Meriton billionaire Harry Triguboff’s pending court proceedings against the NSW Government. Triguboff’s case is an unusual approach to the normal legal process. See below article for further details.

‘How did Harry Triguboff know?’ – The Australian Financial Review

Questions have been raised about apartment billionaire Harry Triguboff’s apparent admission that he knew confidential details about a $150 million development on Sydney’s North Shore.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, senior sources involved in the tender process pointed out that dollar amounts for the various bids had not been released to anyone outside of the government agency UrbanGrowth NSW.

“So how does he know his bid was the highest?” said one source.

On Tuesday the Australian Financial Review revealed that Mr Triguboff was taking the NSW government to court over his exclusion from a 3000 apartment development on the North Shore called “Lachlan’s Line”.

The 82-year old Meriton founder – who has a fortune valued at $10.23 billion by the BRW rich list –​ had been excluded from the project because of an apparent conflict of interest.

In February Meriton hired Simeon McGovern to be its general manager of new projects and planning.

Mr McGovern had been UrbanGrowth’s development director until February and was a key member of the team working on the North Ryde residential and retail project.

Meriton was excluded from the development on March 19. Mr McGovern’s three month stint at Meriton ended in April.

In an interview with the AFR, Mr Triguboff disputed the conflict of interest claims.

“What is an unfair advantage? I was the biggest bidder. By a long way,” he said.

The comments were lept on by sources in the government who said that it demonstrated Mr Triguboff had access to confidential, commercially sensitive information.

“It proves our entire case,” said one government source.

The government agency decided that the hiring of Mr McGovern might give an advantage to Meriton over other shortlisted candidates.

Rival bidders for the development are believed to include Stockland and Mirvac.

Andrew Jewell, a senior associate at employment law firm McDonald Murholme’s, said the case was an interesting reversal of normal legal process.

“It’s interesting that Mr Triguboff’s initiating procedings because he was left out of a process because of someone that he’s hired,” Mr Jewell said.

Mr Jewell added that it was unusual for someone to enter court because they felt they had been insulted.

“Maybe because he’s a billionaire he can,” he said.

Mr Triguboff told the AFR that he was taking legal action to clear his name.

“Why have I taken the government to court? Because they insulted me,” he said.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on June 12.

Reference: ‘How did Harry Triguboff know? The Australian Financial Review, 28th May 2015