Judge lifts a stay that had prevented his former tax attorney from pursuing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the mogul over unpaid commissions
A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge has lifted a stay that prevented a tax attorney from suing Haim Saban for $150 million in unpaid commissions, TheWrap has confirmed.
The billionaire investor is accused by Matthew Krane of taking a $36 million commission from Quellos Group, a Seattle-based investment firm that developed an alleged illegal tax shelter scheme.
"I gave you enough time to resolve the case in Austria, that hasn't happened, and therefore we're going to resolve it here," Judge Kenneth Freeman said according to a City News Service report.
Saban's team tried to paint Judge Freeman's decision as a win.
Noting Krane's past conviction for defrauding Saban, a spokesperson for the media mogul said: " The lifting of the stay now permits the state court in California to grant Mr. Saban’s pending motion to dismiss this frivolous lawsuit."
In the suit, Krane claims Saban defrauded the government out of tax money when he sold his company to the Walt Disney Company in October 2001 for $5.3 billion.
“Saban demanded Krane put together a tax plan to ensure that Saban would pay $0 on his $1.5 billion profit from the impending sale,” the suit alleges. “The plan thus saved Defendants $150,000,000 or more in tax benefits while, at the same time, placing $60,000,000 in potential stock profit at Saban’s disposal.”
Krane has had his own legal struggles. At the time his suit was filed, the tax lawyer had been in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles for over a year on charges of identity theft.
He was indicted by the U.S. Attorney in Seattle on a conspiracy count charging that he defrauded Saban and laundered illegal kickbacks related to Saban's investments.