Foster’s “Ashwick” Litigation


In 1984 few could have predicted that John Elliott and Ken Jarrett's ill-fated bid to turn Elders Finance Group into Australia's largest merchant bank would lead to a 13-year legal battle for Foster’s over $2.8 billion in claimed tax deductions.

The case had its genesis in the turmoil of the 1987 stock market crash and the early 1990s recession, after which it became apparent that debts, owed by the Elders Finance Group to the wider Foster's Group as a result of external funding drying up, would not be recovered and should be written off and claimed as a tax deduction.

The deductions were denied, resulting in 13 sets of related court proceedings, before the Full Federal Court ruled in favour of Foster’s and the Tax Office said it would not seek to appeal the decision.

The case demonstrates the ability of Corrs' tax litigation team, together with Corrs’ litigation and litigation support teams, to manage extraordinarily complex tax disputes and conduct successful large scale tax litigation to assist Foster’s in achieving a victory of great commercial benefit to the company and its shareholders.