By Tony Field
Environmental activist Pete Bethune has turned on his former friends and is suing them for half a million dollars.
He's taken the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to court in the United States, arguing that he is owed the money from the sale of his trimaran, Ady Gil.
It's been more than two-and-a-half years since the boat was scuttled and sank in the Antarctic, after colliding with a Japanese whaling ship.
Now, former allies, Mr Bethune and Sea Shepherd are fighting in an American courtroom.
“I spent five months in maximum security prison in Japan on behalf of these guys, and to have to take them to court is most disappointing,” Mr Bethune says. “It breaks my heart.”
Mr Bethune says he is owed half-a-million dollars from the sale of the trimaran to Sea Shepherd.
“The losers in this are probably the whales, and to just turn my back on half-a-million dollars, I have debts at the moment of $600,000.”
Sea Shepherd refused to comment to 3 News while the case was in arbitration.
But the hearing comes days after founder Paul Watson skipped bail in Germany, where authorities were considering extraditing him to Costa Rica.
Mr Watson posted a statement online saying he is in a safe place, and accusing Mr Bethune of fabricating evidence against him.
“I think now that Sea Shepherd are morally bankrupt,” Mr Bethune says. “I just think that they have completely lost the plot.”
Mr Bethune will be cross examined tomorrow by Sea Shepherd's lawyers.