Seven’s latest figures reveal the network paid another
$27 million to lawyers in London, Sydney, no doubt Melbourne and
presumably anywhere else there was a C7 pay TV subscriber, or so it seems. That makes the best
part of $54 million outlaid by the Seven Network in calendar 2005, and takes the
total amount to well over $70 million.

With a
similar amount expected this half, depending on how long the actual Q and A bit
of the case goes in the Federal Court, you could be hard pressed to get change
from a round $100 million by the end of financial 2006.

Then
there’s the cost of the 20-22 respondents and we’re into serious money, say
double the Seven cost by the end of this year. That
will be more than the Nine Network could earn this financial year and around
what Seven might make as a minimum, so long as the
second half revenue holds up and costs fall.

But it
isn’t the only legal beagle benefit in town: the prosecution (civil) by ASIC of
Jodee Rich and Mark Silbermann over the One.Tel failure
(with James Packer and an arrogant Murdoch son as star witnesses with memory
problems) is also costing a bomb.

ASIC has so far spent $16 million prosecuting Rich and Silbermann, Rich
has spent $11 million on the defence and ASIC is now understood to have
asked and received a further $4 million to continue the case this year.

That
resumes in about a fortnight with the defence from
Rich and Silbermann. Seeing
how ASIC is seeking $93 million in civil damages, when
does the cost benefit analysis cut in to bring about a
settlement?

That $20 million would have been better spent in an effort to stop a Dodgy Brothers mob
called Westpoint from trading. At least that amount will be needed to
track down and prosecute those behind Westpoint.

Peter Fray

FINAL HOURS: Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey

This extraordinary year is almost at an end. But we know that time waits for no one, and we won’t either. This is the time to get on board with Crikey.

Subscribe before midnight tonight and choose what you pay for a year of Crikey.

Save up to 50% or dig deeper so we can dig deeper.

See you in 2021.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

SAVE 50%