Australian firm Blake Dawson Waldron has repaid the A$1m (£350,000) in fees that it was paid by HIH in the final 24 hours before the collapse of the Australian insurance giant in March
The firm returned the money plus interest on Friday (11 October) following a review with liquidator KPMG. "It was always understood that we'd review the circumstances under which the money was paid," said the firm's managing partner John Atkin, who took over the reins in July. In the ongoing Royal Commission investigation, it was revealed earlier this month that the troubled insurer paid out A$10m (£3.5m) the day before it went into liquidation on 15 March, including the A$1m payment to Blake Dawson. Other payments included A$6m (£2.1m) to Deutsche Bank and A$2m (£700,000) in consultancy fees to Australian entrepreneur Brad Cooper. The fees were payment for a range of work carried out by Blake Dawson, which only recently became HIH's primary adviser. "We've done a lot of corporate and general insurance litigation work for them over the past 12 months," said Atkin. Blake Dawson poached HIH from Minter Ellison in 2001 following the departure of HIH chief executive Ray Williams, who had close ties with Minter Ellison. But despite the loss of the fees, Blake Dawson is still likely to generate a fair amount of money from the collapse on the troubled insurer. The firm is now acting on behalf of KPMG on the liquidation.