A mystery benefactor has paid off a $750,000 debt owed by former Essendon coach James Hird to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, a court has heard.
Mr Hird, 43, had been ordered to pay ASADA's court costs after losing his fight to stop the investigation into the supplements saga, but the Supreme Court was told on Tuesday that the debt had been paid by another unnamed party.
Essendon players set to appeal ban in Swiss courts
As 34 past and present Bombers players are about to appeal their CAS bans in a Swiss court, here's a look back at a timeline of the Essendon Supplement Scandal.
The payout was revealed when Mr Hird, who is suing Chubb Insurance for refusing to pay his legal bills of almost $660,000 over his court battles surrounding the supplements saga, was giving evidence.
Questioned by barrister Jim Peters, QC, representing Chubb, Mr Hird agreed his ASADA debt had been paid by "somebody else". No details were given as to who had picked up the tab for Mr Hird.
In other evidence, Mr Hird, who told the court he was now self-employed, said the Bombers had warned him he would be sacked if he decided to appeal a Federal Court decision which had gone against him and the club.
He said that after the failed bid in the Federal Court to have the 2013 joint investigation by the AFL and ASADA into the Bombers' 2012 supplements program declared unlawful, he received legal advice urging him to appeal the decision.
But Mr Hird said his lawyers cautioned that any appeal would be more difficult if Essendon dropped out of the case.
So when the club decided not to take the matter further, he sat down with his lawyers to work out if he should go it alone.
Mr Hird told Justice Kim Hargrave he reviewed the situation "a lot of times" because Essendon was threatening to sack him if he did go ahead with the appeal.
In the end, he decided to pursue the appeal on legal advice and was told the proceedings would only cost about a third of the Federal Court trial's costs. His appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court was unanimously dismissed in January 2015.
In Mr Hird's writ filed in the Supreme Court, his lawyers demanded Chubb Insurance pay his Federal Court trial costs of $572,691.25 and the Full Court appeal costs of $86,828.75.
Chubb has denied liability, saying Mr Hird was covered for legal costs for defending himself against an action but not for the costs of bringing an action against others.
Mr Hird's writ detailed how he was ordered by the AFL and ASADA to attend a meeting on April 16, 2013, over the joint investigation into the use of prohibited substances involving the Essendon Football Club (EFC).
The investigation included "an allegation that EFC athletes and support persons [including Hird] may have used prohibited substances and engaged in prohibited methods in breach of the World Anti-Doping Code and the AFL's Anti-Doping Code".
Mr Hird answered more than 1300 questions put to him mainly by ASADA as well as the AFL during the April 16 meeting.
Chubb agreed to pay for a lawyer to sit with Mr Hird during the interview.
ASADA then served show cause notices on 34 Essendon players on June 12, 2014, based on information from Mr Hird and the players.
Mr Hird applied to the Federal Court on June 30, 2014, seeking a declaration that the ASADA investigation had been unlawful.
Mr Hird's legal team subpoenaed documents from the AFL as part of his application, which meant he became legally obligated to pay the AFL's costs of compliance with the subpoena totalling $32,470.15.
The Federal Court dismissed Mr Hird's application on September 19, 2014, and ordered him to pay ASADA's costs.
Mr Hird appealed on October 10, 2014, but the appeal was dismissed by the Full Federal Court three months later and Mr Hird was again ordered to pay ASADA's costs. Essendon did not appeal the Federal Court's decision.
The civil trial continues.