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Feared businessman Sir Ron Brierley sells off his $4.2m apartment as he fights child porn charges 

A corporate titan facing up to ten years in prison if convicted of possessing more than 200,000 child pornography images has offloaded a $4.2million apartment ahead of his next court appearance. 

New Zealand-born Sir Ron Brierley, who has an estimated wealth of $200million and lives in one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs, is facing six charges of possessing child abuse material.  

As part of his bail conditions Brierley has to live in his mansion in Wunulla Road, Point Piper, where his neighbours include former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

That home has not sold since Brierley bought it for $3.65million in 1987 but one of Sydney’s most knowledgeable real estate experts estimated it would be worth at least $30million. 

Last week Brierley sold a two-level apartment in what was once the Sebel Townhouse Hotel at nearby Elizabeth Bay for $4,215,000. 

The 14th floor three-bedroom residence, wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows, has sweeping views of Sydney Harbour and the central business district. 

Brierley may be re-organising his assets ahead of facing trial over criminal allegations which shocked the business world but he will have no trouble paying his legal bills.  

In July the 83-year-old sold his 30 per cent share of a $51.5million property development in Auckland, which would be worth $15.45million.

Brierley was stopped by Australian Border Force officers at Sydney Airport as he was preparing to board a flight to Fiji about 6.30am on December 17 last year. 

‘The man’s carry-on luggage was searched before the contents of his laptop and electronic storage devices were reviewed, which are alleged to have contained large amounts of child abuse material,’ police said at the time. 

Brierley’s arrest followed a four-month investigation by detectives from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command which reportedly began with an anonymous tip-off.

Police allege they subsequently found 207,000 images and more than 500 videos on Brierley’s devices which were ‘consistent with child abuse material’. 

Court documents reveal the charges include possessing images and videos allegedly of girls between approximately two to 15 years old in sexually suggestive poses.

Two of the six counts of possessing child abuse material relate to ‘typed stories that spoke of the rape of children’, according to court documents.

Brierley has indicated through his lawyer he will defend the charges but no formal please have been entered.

Each of the offences carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. 

Ronald Alfred Brierley was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and in 1961 founded Brierley Investments, where staff would refer to him as ‘The Master’.

He became a feared investor – usually called a ‘feared corporate raider’ – famed for spotting companies which were rich in assets and poor in returns for investors. 

Brierley would swoop in to take over such business and restructure them, cutting costs to return strong profits. 

He was involved in moves on supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, department store David Jones, Adelaide Steamship Company and Air New Zealand.

Brierley Investments became one of New Zealand’s most successful listed companies; at its peak about 150,000 New Zealanders owned shares.

New Zealand’s NBR 2019 Rich List estimated Brierley’s wealth at $NZ220million ($AUD200,000) and after a six-decade career he announced his retirement in June last year. 

Brierley, who was knighted in 1988, is a well-known cricket lover and is a former trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

He is also considered to be one of the biggest stamp collectors in the world.

As well as his Wunulla Road mansion, Brierley retains a holiday home at Great Mackerel Beach at Pittwater, north of Sydney, and a marina berth at Bobbin Head on the city’s upper north shore. 

As part of his bail conditions Brierley had to surrender his passport and is not to approach any international departure point. 

He is due back in Downing Centre Local Court on October 1.  

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