THE Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Photios has less than a month to stave off bankruptcy proceedings brought against him over an unpaid debt on a BMW. However, he insists the matter is a big mix-up.
Despite being the owner of one of Sydney's top political lobbying firms, Mr Photios, 52, failed to pay $26,000 to BMW Finance on the lease of a five-series BMW, as ordered by the NSW Local Court in April 2011. With interest, the debt on the BMW has risen to $30,000. He had until December 18 to comply with a bankruptcy notice served on him but failed to respond.
A bankruptcy hearing in the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane has been set down for February 27 but Mr Photios, a close confidant of the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, insisted the matter would go no further.
''I was in a commercial dispute with BMW Finance over the tenure of a lease and the payment to end it, but I assumed the matter was in abeyance because I hadn't heard anything,'' he said.
''They had been sending notices to my third-last address [in Woolloomooloo].''
The latest court proceedings have been brought by debt collector Baycorp Collections, represented by lawyers ClarkeKann.
When contacted by Fairfax, Shane Williamson, the lawyer at ClarkeKann who is overseeing the matter, said it was live.
But Mr Photios said Baycorp had acknowledged the mistaken address and had agreed he should pay the $26,000, without the $4700 in interest and charges.