For Allan Endresz, the nightmare that has been the threat of bankruptcy is finally over.
The 20-year battle from the Commonwealth to try to bankrupt the Albury businessman came to an end on Friday after the Federal Court of Australia ruled in his favour.
But now Mr Endresz is preparing to turn the tables and go after the Commonwealth for billions in damages.
The next stage of the financial proceedings will begin in February and he says it is now personal.
"I'm going to pursue them to the end of the earth, I can tell you," he told The Border Mail.
"I've instructed the lawyers to go for the jugular ... they don't know what's coming."
The saga began back in 1998 when $8.275 million of misappropriated taxpayers' funds found their way into the bank accounts of family businesses, which Mr Endresz argued was the government's fault, not his.
He was acquitted of criminal charges, but the Commonwealth has twice issued bankruptcy proceedings against him and he has continued to fight, despite his other appeals in court being dismissed.
In 2017, the Commonwealth filed four creditor's petitions in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia seeking a sequestration order - to declare Mr Endresz bankrupt - because he had failed to satisfy the bankruptcy notices that had been served.
A trial date of March 13 and 14, 2018 had been set down, to ensure the issue could be settled before the creditor's petitions were due to lapse on April 11, 2018 - 12 months after they were issued.
But in the judgement handed down on Friday by Federal Court judges Steven Rares, Brigitte Markovic and Natalie Charlesworth, they revealed the mistake made by the Federal Circuit Court judge.
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The judge emailed the parties, saying he had to move the trial date to May 17 and 18 of that year.
"At the time of the making of the February orders, neither the FCCA judge nor the parties raised the fact that the creditor's petitions would lapse in April 2018, prior to the adjourned hearing dates," the Federal Court judges said.
"If an application for an extension of the creditor's petitions had been made at that time, the FCCA judge would have been required to consider whether it was just and equitable to extend the petitions and, if so, upon what terms and conditions such an order should be made including the length of time of any extension.
"His Honour did not do that."
They said it was easy to argue with hindsight that the judge would have not let the petition lapse on that date in April, but they also could not infer whether he would have agreed to extend the life of the petition.
The FCCA judge's decision to adjourn the case without hearing from the parties involved was described as a "somewhat unusual way of proceeding".
"Perhaps it may have been that his Honour had to give priority to an urgent case, or it may have been that he had fixed another case on the same dates with no particular need for it to be decided urgently, or that his Honour had personal difficulties or wished to take leave on the relevant days," the Federal Court judges said.
They dismissed the Commonwealth's argument that the mistake should be allowed to be fixed under the "slip rule".
"The appellants have succeeded on ground 1," they said.
"Declarations should be made that the creditor's petitions lapsed on 11 April 2018 pursuant to s 52(4) of the Act."
It was with this ruling, that Mr Endresz could no longer be declared bankrupt.
Speaking to The Border Mail after the judgement was handed down, he said he was happy with the court's decision, but still angry at the Commonwealth.
"It's been a bit of a nightmare," he said.
"It's been 20 years, but it's a bit of a bittersweet moment for us."
Over the years of battles in the court system, the $8.275 million of taxpayers' funds sought by the Commonwealth had grown to what Mr Endresz said was $80 million with interest.
In response, he has argued over the past 10 years that he is entitled to $4.3 billion in damages.
We've rebuilt some very strong businesses now, even despite all that muddied waters and the brush that Ive been tarnished with.Allan Endresz
"This wasn't the Commonwealth seeking the $80 million with interest, they were never going to get that anyway," he said.
"The only reason the government wanted this final bankruptcy was to stop me, under the Bankruptcy Act, from pursuing the final rounds of the damage against the Commonwealth.
"If we hadn't won today, it made it very remote for that possibility."
Interest will be applied on the other side of the fight too - the amount of damages Mr Endresz now wants has grown from $4.3 billion to $43 billion.
"Particularly the business reputation has been damaging ... in that 20-year journey they've thrown everything at us, accusing us of being criminal," he said.
"We've rebuilt some very strong businesses now, even despite all that muddied waters and the brush that I've been tarnished with."
His name has been placed on sanction lists around the world and he has regularly had to disclose his legal issues up front at meetings.
Mr Endresz said his advice for young entrepreneurs is to use asset protection and do not be afraid of bankruptcy
"You should embrace it and actually prepare for it," he said.
"Some of the greatest people in history - Henry Ford, Walt Disney - have been bankrupt.
"Five American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, so if it's good enough for him ..."