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Businessman Eric Watson sentenced to a four-month jail term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports.

It reports a High Court judge in London found Watson in contempt of court for withholding information about his assets from philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn.

In 2018, Watson was ordered to pay Sir Owen $NZ50m over a disputed joint venture.

The dispute was a long and complicated one, spanning years before it was settled in the UK courts.

The case was brought by Sir Owen's Kea Investments to try to extricate itself from a joint venture, a European property venture called Spartan Capital, into which it had sunk £129 million ($NZ250 million). Kea maintained that it had been deceived over parts of the venture and the case has wound through various courts around the world.

Last year, Sir Owen told RNZ he was still waiting for Watson to pay him.

"It is within the courts mandate at the moment to act on compliance orders ... and [it] needs to follow up with the defendant [Watson].

"He says he has no money."

Watson's business ventures in New Zealand had also come under the spotlight - last year his collapsed company Cullen Group lost a High Court ruling brought forward by Inland Revenue.

The High Court ruled that Cullen Group avoided paying $51.5m in taxes and was ordered to pay it back plus another $60.5 million in interest charged on the outstanding amount.

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