OneTel Soap Strains Murdoch's Memory

25 November 2005

In the latest episode of Australia's newest soap opera, Friends Meet Cell Block OneTel [WAMN: 24-Nov-05] our hero Lachlan Murdoch begins to display worrying signs of memory loss ...

The Supreme Court is hushed as Murdoch junior, son of News Corporation chieftain Rupert, struggles to recall his directorship of ill-fated telecoms venture OneTel.

He agonizes over the specifics of board meetings, various emails and phone calls he allegedly exchanged with OneTel's former managing director, Jodee Rich.

Rich is arraigned before the judge with the company's ex-finance director Mark Silbermann. They are on the receiving end of a damages suit by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following OneTel's A$92 million ($67m; €57m; £39m) collapse in 2001.

Flashback to 2000 ... Murdoch and his best mate James Packer, son of Publishing and Broadcasting chairman Kerry, find themselves on OneTels's board as non-exec directors. They are there to safeguard the vast sums invested in the startup firm by their respective parents. The pair claim they were "profoundly misled" as to the company's true finances by its bosses.

Cut to the present ... despite his memory lapses, Murdoch minor remains cheerful in the face of adversity and Rich's distressingly persistent lawyer who urges him to remember conversations with his client.

With a sad shake of the head Murdoch concedes his recollection of events is "hazy".

The case continues.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff