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From today's Energy News

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    That is what appears in the Energy News publication today. And yes I am a member of it and it allows to be circulated. See at the bottom of the report.

    Dear oh me...what next....As they say, give them time and all the chooks will come home to roost.

    Enjoy it..........

    Voelte sues Aunty for defamation

    Tuesday, 19 July 2016
    Haydn Black

    FORMER Woodside Petroleum boss Don Voelte is back in Australia to sue the ABC for allegedly defaming him over the takeover of Nexus Energy by his former employer, Seven Group Holdings

    Voelte claims the ABC’s The Business program did irreparable harm to his reputation in 2014 during a segment looking at the curious circumstances in which Seven found itself holding the leash at Nexus.

    Yesterday Voelte's lawyer Bruce McClintock said the segment portrayed the former Nexus chairman as a businessman who "dudded" Nexus shareholders by handing the company to Seven for no return to shareholders.

    "It's obvious what [the reporter is] saying is he switched from the Nexus camp and sold those shareholders out ... to Seven Group Holding," McClintock said.

    "There are few more serious things that could be said about a company director than those things.

    "You don't need to say something explicitly to destroy someone's reputation."

    The segment, which aired in November 2014, reported Seven Group Holdings made offers to buy
    Nexus at 5.3c a share and then at 2cps, but Nexus went into administration instead and the administrators accepted a $180 million offer from Seven to pay out creditors, leaving zip for shareholders.

    At the mine Voelte was Seven’s managing director, a role he took on soon after leaving Woodside in 2011.
    The ABC pointed out that Voelte had been chairman at Nexus before switching camps to the diversified Seven conglomerate.

    His lawyers argued the ABC suggested he had betrayed shareholders' trust by handing the Nexus assets to Seven’s emerging energy business for effectively nothing.

    The ABC’s lawyer, former ABC Media Watch presenter Stuart Littlemore, said the average person would not conclude from watching the ABC that Voelte had betrayed Nexus shareholders, and that the network’s report was “straight news”, covering the tangled web of relationships as simply as possible.

    Littlemore said Voelte was wrong to think the ABC reporting targeted him when it was in fact a story about the loss of shareholders’ investment in Nexus, a move that sparked the formation of the Nexus shareholders battle group in a desperate attempt to stop the Kerry Stokes controlled Seven from securing control of the junior without making an offer to shareholders.

    "There are rich and powerful people who think everything is about them," Littlemore said.

    He said Voelte's case that ABC's segment was defamatory was "florid beyond belief" and something that his lawyers "cobbled together on the run here in court".

    He described it as overwrought, overstated and “so far over the top as to be ludicrous".

    The ABC report included responses from Voelte defending his position at the time, saying he had recused himself from any discussions at Seven and Nexus.

    While there has never been any suggestion of wrongdoing, the facts are that Seven was able to secure control of Nexus while shareholders saw no return after the 2cps offer was withdrawn and Seven took on all of Nexus’ debts and obligations.

    Voelte stepped down from Nexus amid rumours that Seven was looking at Nexus' promising but under-funded assets for its first move into the oil patch.

    Nexus’ key assets included 100% of the producing but troubled Longtom gas project in Victoria’s Gippsland Basin, 15% of the Crux development licence (Shell 82%, Osaka Gas 2%) and the Echuca Shoals (100%) in the Browse Basin.
    At the time Seven estimated the capital outlay needed to support Nexus over the medium term to be some $400 million, including $120 million on Longtom developments, $60 million on a Echuca Shoals drilling obligation, and $55 million at Crux, some $150 million was owed to noteholders and $33 million was needed to meet a settlement with Sedco.

    Nexus CEO, Lucio Della Martina, a former boss at Woodside’s Pluto project, also found a home at SGH Energy as its managing director following the Nexus takeover.

    The trial, which is being heard by a four-person jury, continues.

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