Jim Byrnes (Australian businessman)

Jim Byrnes is an Australian businessman and convicted criminal, based in Sydney and specialising in property development and mortgage finance.

Byrnes served 18 months in jail starting in 1986 for malicious wounding and the supply of heroin. In 1992 he went bankrupt, owing A$8 million. In 1994 he assisted businessman Alan Bond in Bond's bankruptcy proceedings.

In 1998 Byrnes was disqualified by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) from the management of corporations in Australia, but he has continued to engage in business activities and allegedly accumulate unpaid debts.

Speculation continues over a fire at a house owned by Byrnes in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra in 1997. Two men, apparently employed by Byrnes at the time, were charged with arson. One, Max Gibson, died from a heroin overdose in 2001, and the other, Tony Vincent Jr, faced a trial which resulted in a hung jury. When Byrnes was disqualified by ASIC, Gibson had replaced him as director of his companies but was himself disqualified in 1999 due to a criminal record. In 2005 an inquest into Gibson's death heard allegations that Gibson had been murdered by underworld figures. In April 2006 Byrnes appeared at the inquest.

In recent times, Byrnes has attempted to act as a funder of commercial litigation. These attempts do not appear to have had much success as is evident by at least one judgment of the Supreme Court of NSW (see Bauhaus Pyrmont Pty Limited (in liq) [2006] NSWSC 543 per Mr Justice Austin). Indeed in that judgment, the Court notes that Mr Byrnes made demands for monetary payment by raising suggestions that involved threats of physical harm (judgment paragraph 78).

In September 2006, it was reported that Byrnes' Sydney auction business "Cromwells" located in Pyrmont was placed in administration.


* Paul Barry, "Lucky Jim", "Good Weekend", August 10, 2002, pp. 18-24.

* Kate McClymont, "Crime figure pleads ignorance", "The Sydney Morning Herald", August 24, 2005.

* Dan Box, "I'll kill your kids", "The Australian", November 16, 2007 [http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22767033-2702,00.html]

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