Eric Watson’s money woes laid bare in London court as Sir Owen Glenn’s lawyers press him over $80 million judgement

Joy Reid
Source: 1News

The battle between two mega-rich Kiwis is playing out again in a London court.

Eric Watson has been ordered to pay Sir Owen Glenn $80 million, but he says he has no cash and can't pay.

It comes after a British judge found in July that Mr Watson had obtained $250 million of Sir Owen Glenn’s money by fraudulent misrepresentation.

That money was given back to Sir Owen, but the court then ordered Mr Watson to pay Sir Owen around 42 million pounds ($80 million NZD). to cover a loss Mr Owen faced as a result of his money being tied up for so long.

But Mr Watson has told Sir Owen that his overall business interests are in such a poor condition he can’t pay the amount he owes.

Today Mr Watson came to Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in London, where Sir Owen’s legal team questioned him extensively about this claim.

He was questioned about $30 million (USD$21 million) he’d received from selling properties and businesses including the Warriors NRL team in the past year.

He couldn't say what he had done with the money.

“I haven’t got that in my head,” he said, adding that he has 27 trusts, more than 100 companies and does not have all those details top of mind.

When pressed further if he really didn’t know he said he’d “rather not give an exact answer”, adding “it would have gone to repay debt and towards corporate purchases".

He was also asked how, if he has no money to pay Sir Owen, he funded his lifestyle.

"There is not a lot of cash coming to me," he said, noting that his mother had given him money and he had sold bits and pieces of art.

He was repeatedly asked about specific details around his bank accounts, including several sums of more than half a million dollars which had appeared in his account.

More often than not he replied that “he didn’t know exactly”, that he didn’t want to hazard a guess and that he’d “have to check with his staff”, saying over and over again “I do not walk around with the details of dozens of trusts in my mind".

He promised to provide the information at a later date and the judge ordered he do so at the next court hearing on January 24.

Sir Owen’s legal team kept asking how a “competent international businessman... really could not have any idea” of how much his companies are worth, and details of his trusts and incomes.

Sir Owen wasn’t in court.

The issue will be back in court at the end of January.