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Billabong boss wept over $13m fraud: court

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Rachael Burnett

Former Billabong boss Matthew Perrin wept as he confessed to his family that he faked his ex-wife's signature in a $13.5 million fraud, a court has heard.

Perrin is on trial at the Brisbane District Court accused of using the family's $15 million Cronin Island house at Surfers Paradise as security for credit from the Commonwealth Bank.

The custom-built waterfront property was solely in Nicole Perrin's name, so he went behind her back and forged her signature on a number of documents, the court heard.

The ex-chief executive of the well-known surfwear brand allegedly made a dramatic confession to his family, saying "I'm going to jail, I've done a lot of bad things".

He lay on the floor with his head in his hands sobbing that he had "lost everything", the court was told.

"Nicole was in total shock as she had never signed a mortgage and the property is in her name and is hers," prosecutor Glen Cash said on Monday.

Perrin had been a "very successful man" and lived an enviable life before he went bankrupt in March 2009, he said.

He was a qualified lawyer before becoming CEO of Billabong, and sold his shares in the company for $33 million, according to the prosecution.

The couple's joint assets totalled $57 million in June 2008 but by the following year "things were collapsing", the court heard.

Perrin repeatedly increased his credit with the bank to the total value of $13.5 million using the mortgage on the Cronin Island house as security.

His wife at the time had no idea they were having any financial issues, the court was told.

The couple, who had three children together, are now divorced.

Perrin has admitted signing Nicole Perrin's name on the documents but claims he had her permission to do so.

"He honestly and reasonably believed he was entitled to write her name on those documents," Andrew Hoare, defending, said.

Perrin denies nine charges of forgery and three of fraud in 2008.

The trial will continue on Tuesday.

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