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AU Fraud charges laid over purchase of Yalanga Station on Sunshine Coast

Property Here - Wednesday, November 06, 2013

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 Yalanga Station. Picture: Supplied

Yalanga Station. Picture: Supplied

CHARGES alleging a multimillion-dollar Sunshine Coast property swindle have been laid against the directors of a UK-registered company who once boasted a $500 million budget for rural acquisitions in Queensland and northern NSW.

The fraud charges relate to the well-publicised purchase of the historic Yalanga Station in the Noosa hinterland in 2010 by entities linked to Nexis Holdings PLC.

The fertile cropping and cattle grazing property was among 2140ha of prime rural assets on the Sunshine Coast secured by the company in deals totalling $45 million.

It is arguably on the most prized rural properties on the Sunshine Coast and is often referred to as the "green diamond".

Among the other acquisitions were Queensland's two biggest macadamia farms, one of them previously owned by former state Labor minister Ken Haywood.

Nexis Holdings has since been delisted from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and was wound up in the UK's High Court late last year for "trading with a lack of commercial probity".

Its directors Walter Filler and Rahoul Ray are now facing charges in Brisbane Magistrates Court relating to the purchase of Yalanga Station through a Nexis subsidiary.

Both men, who reside in NSW, appeared in court late last week each charged with five counts of fraud.

They have been ordered to surrender their passports and remanded on cash bails of $5000 to reappear on December 9.

The charges accuse Mr Filler and Mr Ray of being involved in a $22 million-plus fraud relating to the acquisition of Yalanga Station from the Van Zetten family, who had owned the 1643ha holding since 1993.

It is alleged that between April 1 and December 31, 2010, they "dishonestly induced" Will Van Zetten and others to deliver Yalanga Station to a subsidiary of Nexis Holdings, yielding it $20.7 million.

Four further charges allege that Mr Van Zetten also was "dishonestly induced" to make cash payments totalling $1,945,257 to Nexis Holdings and its subsidiary.

Mr Ray, 53, the former chief executive officer of Nexis Holdings, lives in the exclusive Sydney enclave of Point Piper. He was extradited to Queensland to face the charges after allegedly failing to stop for police on the Pacific Highway at Crows Nest.

He allegedly continued for a short distance before driving into an underground car park where he was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Mr Filler, 65, who was the executive chairman of Nexis Holdings, lives on a 2ha property at Cudgera Creek, near Pottsville, just south of the Gold Coast.

His sprawling resort-style rural retreat was listed to go under the hammer in mid-2012 but was mysteriously withdrawn from sale shortly before the auction date.

Nexis Holdings was a company that touted technology to produce building materials from clean, recyclable materials destined for landfills.

At the time of the Sunshine Coast property transactions, Mr Filler said the acquisitions were part of the company's strategy to secure food and water assets worldwide.

Yalanga Station, formerly known as Cootharaba, is reputedly the Sunshine Coast's largest single freehold parcel of land. Spread across seven titles it has a 140-year history.

Mr Van Zetten has described it as "the most beautiful property on the Coast" and said he only sold it because he was retiring.