Failed surfwear mogul Matthew Perrin at the Brisbane District Court in 2016. Photo: Jodie Richter
Failed surfwear mogul Matthew Perrin at the Brisbane District Court in 2016. Photo: Jodie Richter

Latest penalty to disgraced ex-Billabong boss

DISGRACED former Billabong surfwear boss Matthew Perrin, who was jailed for fraud but released from jail earlier than expected, has been struck off as a Queensland solicitor.

A judge and tribunal president said Perrin's conduct was "wilfully deceitful'' and the public should be protected from such legal practitioners "with a personal propensity for dishonesty''.

Perrin, 47, was sentenced to eight years' jail in January, 2017, after a jury found him guilty of three charges of fraud and six of forgery.

He forged his then wife's signature to secure a $13.5 million loan secured against his wife's home.

Although the Commonwealth Bank was repaid some money, the loss to the bank was about $9 million.

In September, 2017, the Court of Appeal dismissed Perrin's appeal against convictions and he was refused special leave to appeal that decision in the High Court.

Matthew Perrin outside his Gold Coast home, after his release from jail in June.
Matthew Perrin outside his Gold Coast home, after his release from jail in June.

The Court of Appeal ordered the former Gold Coast high flyer be eligible for parole on June 20, next year, but Perrin was released last month, almost a year earlier than that date.

Perrin was admitted as a solicitor in 1996 but has not held a practising certificate since June, 2005.

He did not oppose the application by the Legal Services Commissioner to have his name removed from the roll of legal practitioners in Queensland.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal president Justice Martin Daubney said Perrin was a mature businessman who was convicted of serious offences of dishonesty.

A finding that he was not a fit and proper person to engage in legal practice was clearly warranted.

"Honesty is an essential and fundamental trait for legal practitioners,'' Justice Daubney said in his decision on Tuesday.

Former Billabong boss Matthew Perrin (centre) and his partner Belinda Otton (left), arriving for his trial at the District Court in Brisbane, in December, 2016.
Former Billabong boss Matthew Perrin (centre) and his partner Belinda Otton (left), arriving for his trial at the District Court in Brisbane, in December, 2016.

He said the nature of the offences impugned Perrin's character.

"His conduct was wilfully deceitful and was engaged in for his own personal benefit,'' Justice Daubney said.

"...Such a person is not one in whom the public, other members of the profession or the Bench can safely repose trust and confidence.

"Nor is such a person one who deserves ongoing endorsement of fitness to practice by inclusion on the roll of legal practitioners.''

Justice Daubney recommended Perrin be struck off and ordered him to pay the LSC's costs.

Last month, after his release from prison, Perrin was seen back on the Gold Coast, catching up with his partner and two of his children and hitting the gym.

Perrin, once Billabong's CEO, was bankrupted owing $42 million in 2009.