Bond is bailed on dishonesty charges: Bankrupt tycoon accused of failing in duty to board over sale of Manet painting

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The Independent Online
ALAN BOND, the bankrupt Australian tycoon, was released from court on bail yesterday after facing charges of dishonest behaviour over the sale of an Edouard Manet painting, La Promenade, once a feature of his multi-million-dollar art collection.

Mr Bond, 54, made a brief appearance in a Perth magistrates' court, where he was charged with four breaches of the Australian Companies Code.

They allege that, between 1988 and late 1989, he failed to act honestly as an officer of Bond Corporation by not notifying its board that it had an opportunity to acquire the painting at a substantially lower cost than its market value. They also allege that he furnished misleading information to the company's directors and auditors.

No details of the charges were outlined, but Mr Bond's lawyer told the court he would be pleading not guilty. The magistrate released him on bail of Adollars 200,000 ( pounds 88,000) and ordered him to re-appear in court in August and to surrender his passport in the meantime.

The charges follow a long investigation by the Australian Securities Commission, a corporate regulatory body, in conjunction with the Australian Federal Police.

Outside the court, Mr Bond stayed silent as his lawyer announced that the former businessman was 'dismayed', 'upset' and could not understand why the criminal charges had been brought years after the transactions.

For Mr Bond, it was his second court appearance in less than a year. In May last year, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after being found guilty of dishonest behaviour over a corporate rescue attempt involving Laurie Connell, a former business associate, after the 1987 crash.

He appealed and was granted a re- trial after spending 13 weeks in a prison farm. At the second trial in November he was acquitted of the charge after

the presentation of fresh evidence.

The hearing of the latest charges over the Manet painting will re-focus attention on the lavish lifestyle that accompanied Mr Bond's dizzy path to fame in the 1980s, when he controlled an international brewing, media and property empire through Bond Corporation, much of it financed by huge bank debts.

Mr Bond himself was an Australian hero when his syndicate won the America's Cup yacht series in 1983, and was once one of the country's richest people, with a personal fortune estimated at Adollars 350m. He was declared bankrupt last year and Bond Corporation is now a shell.

La Promenade was bought for Adollars 5m by Bond in 1983 and sold by Christie's to an anonymous Japanese dealer for Adollars 19m in 1989.

The painting once hung in the Perth boardroom of the Bond family company, Dallhold, along with paintings by Gauguin, Renoir, Picasso and Pisarro and sculptures by Rodin.

All the works of art have since been sold, and the family company is in receivership.

(Photograph omitted)