The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Billion-dollar battle heads to Supreme Court

hammer1A battle over the billion-dollar fortune of former Independent Liquor owner, Michael Erceg, is heading to the highest court in New Zealand.

Ivan Erceg (the brother of Michael Erceg) is fighting for access to documents associated with two trusts set up by the late richlister, who died in a helicopter crash.

Ivan Erceg’s case against his brother’s estate has been heard through the High Court, as well as the Court of Appeal. It is now heading to the Supreme Court.

Ivan Erceg was a beneficiary of his brother’s two trusts, but received no distributions. Court documents from previous hearings revealed that the fourth richest family in New Zealand was fraught with “an unfortunate history of tension and conflict”.

Ivan Erceg believes he should have access to the documents to see if there had been any breach of trust as he was a named beneficiary. Analysts had put the value of the trusts at $1.2 billion in 2005 and 2006.

Independent Liquor was sold to private equity interests after Michael Erceg’s death and it was later snapped up for $1.5 billion by Japanese brewery Asahi.