Lawyer sues shopping TV executive over $400k payment

A lawyer has taken a former client to court after advancing $400,000 to him, which she says was a loan.

However, KD Media director Paul Ding is arguing his former lawyer, Focus Law principal Eva Ho, gave him the cash to invest in his shopping channel. 

Mr Ding launched TV channel YES Shop last year, taking senior executives and presenters from the now failed Greg Partington-backed Shopping Channel.

Earlier Mr Ding said he hoped to use 400 Korean-based retailers and suppliers to the channel which had obtained rights to broadcast on Sky TV and free-to-air World TV.

Ms Ho had done legal work for for Korean-based KD Media which owns the channel.

She took to the High Court at Auckland earlier this week requesting summary judgment for the $400,000 she had advanced Mr Ding. She also wanted interest at a rate of 25% a year from when it was advanced in August last year.

The court before Associate Judge Hannah Sargisson, was told the money was never given directly to Mr Ding but was put into a separate holding company of which he was a director.

This company was then used to buy shares in KD Media, which is listed on the South Korean Stock Exchange.

Ms Ho’s lawyer Paul Dalkie said there was an earlier, similar loan for half a million dollars from Ms Ho to Mr Ding but there was no dispute over this sum.

He argued that Mr Ding has no excuse for not paying up, saying he was a university educated businessman and that English was his first language as he is New Zealand born. He said Mr Ding could not say he was confused when there were no issues with the earlier, similar loan.

“If he cannot explain it now there’s no point going to trial. His memory isn’t going to get any better is it?” The lawyer said.

But Mr Ding’s lawyer, Sarah Neville, says she does not dispute Mr Ding is an experienced businessman but the documents were created in Ms Ho’s interest.

She says there has been an unconscionable bargain because Mr Ding did not take separate legal advice on the transaction.

Ms Neville says Mr Ding always believed that the $400,000 transaction was about Ms Ho’s investment and little evidence had been produced which proved otherwise. She said the $500,000 loan was different as there were emails which supported the interpretation of that deal. 

The judge reserved her decision. 

vyoung@nbr.co.nz