A glamorous lawyer and daughter of fugitive property developer Jean Nassif intends to apply to have the charges against her thrown out after she was accused of a $150m bank scam.
Ashlyn Nassif is accused of falsifying documents to meet a $10.5m pre-sale condition for the Sky View apartments in Castle Hill in Sydney’s northwest.
Police allege the 29-year-old submitted fake contracts to Westpac Bank over three months in late 2021 to obtain a $150m loan to fund three of the five Skyview towers, or about 900 apartments.
The $900m apartment tower complex was being built by her father’s development company, Toplace. The company has since collapsed with outstanding debts of more than $1.24bn.
The lawyer has been charged with dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception and publishing false or misleading material after she allegedly submitted fake contracts to obtain a $150m bank loan.
On Wednesday, her lawyer Warwick Korn told Burwood Local Court there had been lengthy delays in proceeding with the matter.
“The brief was served almost three months ago,” he said.
“On the next adjournment we will be applying to discharge if something doesn’t move along.”
If Mr Korn makes the application and it succeeds, the charges against Ms Nassif would be dismissed.
He noted his client had endured lengthy delays and has been unable to work as a solicitor since she was arrested in February.
Crown prosecutor Hannah Purcell explained a further eight weeks was needed to “address the complexity” of Ms Nassif’s matter.
She told the court there were a dozen lever arch folders filled with material related to the allegations, including extensive financial records.
Magistrate Vivien Swain agreed to adjourn Ms Nassif’s matter until November due to “the complexity of the matter and the size of the brief”.
However, she emphasised there was “some urgency” to the proceedings because Ms Nassif was unable to work in the meantime.
“The crown is on notice,” Ms Swain warned.
At the time of the alleged multimillion dollar scam, Ms Nassif was a legal practitioner in the NSW Supreme Court and a partner at law firm EA Legal.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the firm, and Ms Nassif was suspended from practising law by the NSW Law Society after the charges were laid.
She could be reinstated, pending the outcome of the criminal charges laid against her.
The EA Legal office was one of four properties raided by police prior to Ms Nassif’s arrest earlier this year.
She was granted bail in May after her family deposited a $2.6m surety to ensure she would appear in court.
As part of her bail conditions, she is not permitted to contact dozens of people who are allegedly connected to the allegations against her, including her property developer father.
Ms Nassif is not charged as his daughter’s co-accused, but police have issued a warrant for his arrest over the same allegedly fraudulent $150m loan.
The embattled property developer is currently a fugitive and believed to be living in Lebanon.
His daughter’s legal battle comes two years after buyers were blocked from moving into the Skyview apartments.
Tenants were able to occupy their homes in 2021 after the NSW Building Commissioner found structural issues in the building.
NSW Fair Trading suspended Mr Nassif’s development licence for 10 years and cancelled the building licence of Toplace after they were found guilty of improper conduct.
The controversial developer fought the decision and was allowed to continue to operate under the condition the business does not accept any new contracts without permission.
However, the ban was reinstated in July and Toplace subsequently went into administration.
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