Home News Prominent businessman faces nearly $1 million in fines for selling mouldy house to young couple

Prominent businessman faces nearly $1 million in fines for selling mouldy house to young couple

0
Prominent businessman faces nearly $1 million in fines for selling mouldy house to young couple

[ad_1]

A prominent New Zealand businessman says he may have to flee to India after being ordered to pay a young couple he deceived into buying a rotting, leaky house nearly $1 million following a four-year legal ordeal.

Ameet Bhargav and his wife Renu purchased the home in Goodwood Heights, Manukau, south Auckland, in May 2020, but immediately discovered the building was leaking.

Davinder Singh Rahal and his company First Trust Limited (FTL) were last year found liable by the High Court over the deceptive sale, with a judge describing the case as “quite literally a cover-up”.

Now a judge has ordered the Bhargavs nearly $NZ1 million in damages and repairs, but the court has heard they fear not seeing that money.

Justice Anne Hinton found it was “inherently implausible” that Mr Rahal was not made aware of the weather-tightness issues when he purchased the property in 2019.

He then sold in the following year after cosmetic repairs were used to mask water damage, according to the judgment.

“I am satisfied that Mr Rahal was well aware of, and in fact authorised, the ‘cover up’ works conducted post-purchase,” Justice Hinton wrote.

“His failure to disclose that information constituted misleading and deceptive conduct.”

Mr Rahal has said he “strongly disagrees” with the decision and will appeal, according to the New Zealand Herald.

A similar judgment was handed down in 2022 in favour of the Bhargavs, but a retrial was ordered after Mr Rahal argued he was unable to take part due to bad health.

The Bhargavs had continued to live in the mouldy home for almost four years and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing the case.

Earlier this month, Justice Laura O’Gorman wrote they were concerned the defendants would “divert their assets” in order to avoid paying the huge sum awarded after the court won.

The court was told Mr Rahal’s business Bath and Tile Ltd was recently put into liquidation on Mar 22 and a report stated “there is unlikely to be a return to creditors given tax liabilities”.

Two properties linked to Mr Rahal and FTL were either up for sale or partly “under contract”, and a law firm was chasing FTL for unpaid legal fees, the court heard.

“Mr Rahal gave evidence at trial that if the judgment went against him, he would have to leave the country as it would ruin his credibility,” the judgment states.

Justice O’Gorman found the cost of repairs for the Manukau home would “fall in the range of $600,000 to $700,000”.

This week Justice Hinton awarded repair costs of $750,000 and damages of $250,000 to the Bhargav family.

The final figure will now be subject to submissions from the parties’ lawyers.

[ad_2]

Source link