Coles Myer hits back at ex-official

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 September, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 September, 1995, 12:00am

AUSTRALIA'S largest retailer, Coles Myer, said it would not be 'held to ransom' by Philip Bowman, the finance director it sacked last weekend after three months in the job.

Coles said it had filed a writ yesterday seeking to stop Mr Bowman and his lawyers from making what it said were misleading and deceptive statements.

Mr Bowman said on Monday that he was sacked to stop him looking into the relationship between Coles and other companies, which include wholesale suppliers owned by Coles directors.

Mr Bowman's lawyers said they had been instructed to pass the information on to corporate regulators. Mr Bowman is suing Coles for damages of up to A$2.15 million (about HK$12.5 million).

Coles shares fell as much as four cents yesterday to $4.07. The shares slumped 6.3 per cent on Monday as news of Mr Bowman's court action came to investors' attention.

'Mr Bowman's claims have no substances whatever,' Coles chief executive, Peter Bartels, said. 'He is simply abusing the court process in an attempt to extract a large sum of money from Coles Myer, at the expense of our shareholders.'