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Australian court to probe 'vexatious' BlueScope case

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) July 7, 2010
Australia's BlueScope Steel Wednesday welcomed a Federal Court decision to examine whether a deception case brought by a Hong Kong company was an abuse of legal process.

BlueScope has denied misleading Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI), controlled by renowned tycoon Li Ka-shing, over the failed purchase of a New Zealand iron sands mine, and called the case "vexatious".

"BlueScope strongly denies the allegations made by CKI and will be rigorously defending itself in the Federal Court of Australia," the company said in a statement.

"These vexatious legal proceedings by CKI, are an attempt by CKI to re-litigate issues already heard and adjudicated in the arbitration between BlueScope's subsidiaries and CKI in New Zealand."

Cheung Kong accuses BlueScope of trying to sell the mine while knowing that its main customer, a rival bidder, would stop buying the product if the project were sold to another firm.

But BlueScope said Cheung Kong agreed that any disputes would be settled by arbitration in New Zealand.

"On this basis, the proceedings in Australia are an abuse of process and should be summarily dismissed," BlueScope said.

The 2008 sale, at a price of 190 million dollars (160 million US) was eventually blocked by New Zealand's foreign investment regulators.

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