‘Institutional theft on massive scale’ by banks in Australia

hen entrepreneur Sean Butler bought the heritage National Hotel in Fremantle in Western Australia, he had ambitions to restore “a beautiful old hotel” to its former glory.

The upmarket four-storey building had catered to affluent punters since the region’s gold boom of the 1880s, but had since fallen into disrepair.

It was a big project, but Butler, the owner of a resort nearby and two further properties, felt prepared.

What he had not factored in was his lender, Bankwest, aggressively asset stripping him and his business.