In terms of classic corrections and apologies, The AFR produced this ripper as its lead brief on Saturday:

An article on page 15 of the December 27 to January 1 edition of The Australian Financial Review incorrectly reported that Sydney lawyer John Landerer paid $46 million for a house in Vaucluse. The article included other incorrect information about the house and exaggerated its size and contents, and the heading “When money is no object” does not apply to Mr Landerer. The AFR apologises to Mr Landerer for any adverse attention the article may have brought upon him.

The offending line read as follows:

Lawyer John Landerer paid $46 million for his new Vaucluse home because he wanted a panic room, a fabulous glass-tiled swimming pool, and a mahogany-lined study – and to achieve this he had to demolish four adjoining houses and rebuild.

The biggest whinge by BRW Rich Listers is that it attracts audits from the Tax Office, which is presumably part of the “adverse attention” that Landerer was hoping to avoid.

The Australian followed up on 4 January with a story about rocketing uranium junior Goldsearch which included the following:

Mr Landerer, who recently purchased a $46 million Vaucluse home complete with panic room, has been honoured with a Commander of the British Empire award and is a friend of the late Rene Rivkin.

However, a follow-up story the next day included this line:

Mr Landerer recently purchased a multi-million-dollar mansion in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Vaucluse, but not for the $46 million price tag previously reported.

Landerer has an interesting history. From 1985 until 1993 he was a key director of the Sir Peter Abeles-controlled TNT and from 1989 until 1999 he was chairman of Rodney Adler’s calamitous FAI Insurance.

The HIH Royal Commission heard that Landerer was a “second father” to Rodney and was very close to his father, the equally colourful Larry Adler.

Landerer’s first witness statement is worth a read and it is clear from the second statement rebutting Rodney’s testimony over the role of Malcolm Turnbull and Goldman Sachs that the two had fallen out.

That said, Landerer has clearly avoided any significant fallout from his role at FAI. There were no adverse findings and no action by APRA and he’s clearly hung on to a decent pile of assets, even if The AFR and The Australian both talked up the opulence of his waterfront mansion.

Peter Fray

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