Bankruptcy trustee lists ex-GP Noble boss Tony Morris’ former Palm Beach home as Morris faces fraud charges

Bankruptcy trustee lists ex-GP Noble boss Tony Morris’ former Palm Beach home as Morris faces fraud charges
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 8, 2020

The former Palm Beach home of Tony Morris, ex-principal of GP Noble, one of Britain's largest pension schemes, has been listed for March 20 sale by his bankruptcy trustee Andrew Wily.

Morris, who was extradited from Sydney last April to face charges of defrauding the fund, paid $7.45 million in 2006 for the clifftop property he named Aman.

Peter Gosnell’s Sydney Insolvency News reported last October that Wily had been appointed trustee in bankruptcy to the estate of Tony Morris after Morris failed to pay $50,000 in legal fees owed to his lawyers, HWL Ebsworth. Morris’s insurance policy indicated jewellery with a replacement value of $5 million was kept on the Palm Beach premises.

Wily subsequently took possession of the safe's contents, which included a platinum ladies’ ring with a seven-carat diamond, diamond earrings valued at $200,000 and other high-end pieces from Phillip Street jewellers.

A man's ring with a replacement value of $2 million was missing, and Morris has since said he lost the ring while working on a farm in New Zealand.

The mortgage, currently running at $25,000 a month, has the National Australia Bank owed about $5.2 million and accumulating penalty interest.

Valuations for the property mentioned in court last year ranged from $6.2 million to $6.5 million, a fair way shy of the $7.4 million Morris paid in 2006.

David Egan of Raine & Horne is marketing the property.

Morris was initially under investigation for a £52 million ($86 million) fraud with creditors and British police searching for missing funds, but investigators have subsequently recovered $50 million of the funds.

In a 2010 interview with Channel Seven at his clifftop home Morris has said he was innocent and would return to England to speak to police to clear his name.

"I've got a lot to lose, a lot to lose. I'm confident I won't be charged but that's what terrifies me," he said.

The Australian Federal Police, as Interpol's representatives, had been asked to assist the Serious Fraud Office with inquiries into Morris.

The central allegation made at the hearing was that GP Noble and a trustee firm identified only as BDC paid money that had been held in the trusts of 29 pension schemes into investments that were not within the trustees' investment powers.

It was alleged that two directors of GP Noble and BDC, Mr Pitcher and Mr Cordell, were "dishonest" and that Morris was a "dishonest accomplice".

The north-facing property, which is situated on the top of a cliff at the northern end of Whale Beach, had been the subject of a “soft sell” marketing campaign late last year after Wily and Morris’s wife, Vanessa Jackson, found common ground over inspection times that suited the nap times of the couple’s two-year-old child.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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