Court awards damages to Rural Funds over Bonitas short sell report

Court awards damages to Rural Funds over Bonitas short sell report

The Supreme Court of NSW has declared a short selling report from US-based Bonitas Research against Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF) was in breach of the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act.

The court ordered damages of $530,201 payable by Bonitas and its principal Matthew Weichert, as well as costs of $368,974.

Weichert has previously claimed Australian courts have no jurisdiction over Bonitas, and that the company would "contest the enforcement of any orders or judgments you obtain that certainly will be contrary to the discoverable facts, as well as United States and Texas law and policy".

In February the court found Bonitas had made false and misleading statements in its report.

"Commencing at 9:23am on 6 August 2019, Bonitas and Wiechert engaged upon a concerted course of making statements and disseminating information scathingly critical of RFM and RFF," Justice Hammerschlag said at the time.

"They accused RFM and RFF of dishonesty and of being a fraud. Their plain intention was to drive down the price of units for commercial gain.

"I am satisfied that they knew or ought reasonably to have known that the statements and information were false in material particulars or were materially misleading. They did not care that they were false."

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