A high-profile Indian billionaire businessman was assaulted and threatened by a top Australian bank executive who told him to “bloody well sign or we will destroy you,” the Supreme Court of Victoria heard today.
ANZ’s former chief risk officer Chris Page used a physical force during a 2009 meeting by putting his arm around Pankaj Oswal’s neck and said “bloody well sign or we will destroy you.”
Pankaj stooped forward under the weight of Page’s arm around his neck, according to media reports.
“This was not a friendly gesture,” Garry Rich, appearing for Pankaj’s wife Radhika, said.
“Extraordinary conduct apt no doubt to intimidate not only Oswal but his wife who was obviously concerned for him,” Rich said.
The allegation is the latest in a string of claims about how top bosses at the Australian banking giant conducted business with the flamboyant tycoon and his wife.
The lawsuit launched by Pankaj and Radhika is the biggest in the legal history of Victoria and revolves around the forced sale of the Oswals’ Western Australia-based company Burrup Fertilisers after it was seized by receivers in 2010.
The Oswals have sought up to 2.5 billion dollars in damages from the bank and receivers, appointed in December 2010, over the sale of their 65 per cent stake in the firm.
The court heard that Page described the Oswals as devious and unsavoury characters in racist remarks in an email to the bank’s CEO, sent after the heated meetings in December 2009.
Rich said Oswal was extremely flustered after Page used physical force against him during the negotiations.
The court has heard that ANZ told Radhika that her husband had admitted falsifying security documents and could face jail for fraud if she did not cover $900 million in debts.