3 Dec 2015

US fund manager again fails in legal suit of Nauru govt

4:12 pm on 3 December 2015

A United States fund management company has again failed to overturn several Australian court rulings involving US$27 million owed by the Nauru government.

A year ago Firebird Global Master Fund launched legal action to have Nauru pay up for a debt accrued by Nauru Finance Corporation and guaranteed by the government.

Firebird in September last year got what is called a 'garnishee' order for Nauru assets held by Westpac Bank in Australia to be frozen, but four days later Nauru was successful in overturning this.

The fund manager has, over the subsequent 14 months, been to various appeal courts to have the garnishee order re-instated.

This culminated in a judgment this week by the full bench of the High Court of Australia dismissing Firebird's appeal.

The judges found Nauru is immune from execution against its property and bank accounts in Australia because they had been earmarked for government, and not commercial purposes.

The Nauru government had earlier warned its services, including those for asylum seekers, would be affected without access to the money.

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