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‘Appalled’: Adman Mitchell accuses ASIC of stalling, withholding documents

The regulator has also accused Mr Mitchell of passing on to the Seven Network confidential information about the interest of its competitors in acquiring the rights to the Australian Open, and other confidential information about the Tennis Australia negotiating position to Seven, including Seven’s concerns about a bid from rival Network 10.

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Mr Mitchell’s legal team, led by one of the country’s best litigators Janet Whiting, alleges ASIC has failed to hand over a trove of important documents needed to respond to the allegations, according to court documents obtained by The Age and the Herald.

“We are appalled at the obstruction and delay tactics employed by ASIC in this case,” Mr Mitchell’s spokesman Tim Allerton said.

“We continue to push for the release of the material we need to defend these allegations.”

This includes transcripts of compulsory interviews conducted by ASIC during the investigation as well as “copies of all communications with and documents obtained from Graeme Holloway in connection with its investigation subject of this proceeding”.

Mr Holloway was a director of Tennis Australia between 2008 and 2013. He died in February.

Harold Mitchell at the 2018 Australian Open.

Harold Mitchell at the 2018 Australian Open.Credit:Jesse Marlow

ASIC told the Federal Court at a case management hearing in May that it had already provided full discovery to the legal teams of Mr Mitchell and Mr Healy, including transcripts of interviews, documents gathered by ASIC in its investigation and all material the regulator plans to rely on in its court case.

The application by Mr Mitchell’s legal team indicates that large portions of ASIC’s discovery process was not properly completed.

Mr Mitchell’s legal team has also asked for a full catalogue of documents over which ASIC intends to claim legal privilege.

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The hard ball over privilege comes just months after ASIC chastised wealth manager AMP over its attempts to claim privilege over its legal documents in a separate court case.

Seven acquired the rights over five-year period for $195 million.

Ten had earlier indicated, according to the ASIC documents, that it could pay as much as $50 million per year for the rights, adding up to $250 million over the five-year deal. ASIC declined to comment. The case continues.

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