Former Billabong Chief Executive In Severe Gambling Debt

Matthew Perrin racked up $1.7 million in gambling debts last year. The debts of the former high-flying Billabong chief executive include $800,000 to the Centrebet boss, Con Kafataris, $300,000 to Flemington bookie Frank Hudson and $160,000 to one of Victoria’s biggest bookmakers, Alan Eskander.

Mr Perrin has left a $28.2 million trail of unpaid bills to 20 unsecured creditors, including Chinese finance company CITIC Capital, according to the statement of affairs that he signed when he filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. Four of these creditors, including CITIC, were multi-million-dollar loans secured against Mr Perrin’s investment in a Chinese supermarket business, Global Mart, and other property development deals that have soured.

It is not the first time Mr Perrin’s $150 million empire has been at risk.

This year he has been living off his American Express card and two Mastercards, racking up $82,000 in two months.

Despite making his fortune running a surfwear company, Mr Perrin preferred to be down at the racetrack. Most bookies have written off Mr Perrin’s debt after learning he was bankrupt. “It’s case closed,” said Sportsbet’s chief executive, Matthew Tripp, who is owed $140,000. “We’ve shut the book on it.” Racing insiders said his gambling and horseracing activities increased after he made $66 million selling two-thirds of his Billabong stake in 2002.