Jirsch’s Crisp chalks up 2nd mention at examination

Liquidator Glenn Crisp

Jirsch Sutherland’s Glenn Crisp.

Liquidator Andrew Yeo's investigations uncovering Crisp connection

Pitcher Partners’ Andrew Yeo.

Correction & Clarification

Glenn Crisp has been mentioned a second time during public examinations being run by Pitcher Partners Andrew Yeo and Gess Rambaldi as they investigate a $100 million tax-avoidance and phoenix-facilitation racket allegedly masterminded by Melbourne man Phil Whiteman.

For the record the Jirsch Sutherland Victoria managing partner is not accused of any wrongdoing and Crisp is one of approximately 100 registered liquidators Australia-wide who accepted referrals from individuals and entities connected to Whiteman’s Armstrong & Shaw Group (A&S).

Yeo and Rambaldi have been appointed liquidators of five entities within that group – A & S Services, Armstrong & Shaw, DNV Accountants, Bolton & Swan Solicitors, and Ainslie Harding & Wood Solicitors – and have served summonses to appear for examination on 45 individuals. But back to the Jirsch partner.

Crisp’s name was first aired during day two of the examinations on August 28, as was the name of Queensland based practitioner Travis Pullen.

As a consequence of that reference Insolvency News Online (INO) subsequently published an account of how in June this year Pitchers staff working under Yeo and Rambaldi attended a meeting of creditors of Punchbowl Fencing, a company to which Crisp was appointed liquidator following a referral from A&S Services Group. (See: Pitcher’s Phoenix Probe Yields Liquidators’ Names).

This week, Crisp’s name was aired a second time in regards to a meeting of creditors of a company where Crisp as chairman voted general proxies in favour of a resolution to replace him with Yeo and Rambaldi.

Examinee Nicholas Murray told the court how he consulted with Whiteman in respect of a significant debt his company Rayrum Pty Ltd owed the ATO, which had initiated winding up proceedings in the Federal Court on June 23, 2017.

According to Murray, Whiteman told him he needed to phoenix the company and appoint Crisp liquidator to the old entity once the assets were transferred to the phoenix – Firebrace Life Pty Ltd.

Murray told the court that Whiteman had assured him that if Crisp was appointed the liquidation would be a formality, a claim Crisp denied when contacted by reporters who attended the examinations.

“I have never and would never represent to anyone that I would not perform my duties as liquidator,” Crisp told The Australian’s Ben Butler.

“Furthermore I have always performed my duties as liquidator on all matters,” Crisp said.

Crisp’s Declaration of Independence, Relevant Relationships and Indemnities (DIRRI) on Firebrace indicated the referral came from Queensland-based solicitor James Wright of Colwell Wright.

Why a Victorian publican would be a client of a Queensland solicitor is unclear. We were unable to make contact with Wright who according to his staff is travelling in Tasmania.

Crisp also disclosed in is DIRRI that he received a signed personal guarantee and indemnity from Murray for $30,000 on June 27, 2017 but the DIRRI is dated 27/07/2017.

ASIC records for Firebrace also record the appointment of Crisp and Jirsch partner Liam Bellamy as administrators on July 27, 2017.

The disparity in dates aside, the Jirsch pair were appointed only until the first meeting of creditors on August 7, 2017 when they were replaced by the Pitchers pair.

Two mentions for Crisp during the Pitchers public examinations. Given the 100 or so liquidators contacted by Pitchers expect more to join Crisp and Pullen among the mentions.

But as Crisp pointed out in his lengthy addendum to the Minutes of the Punchbowl Fencing meeting, Jirsch Sutherland stopped accepting referrals from A&S and its related entities before those companies were placed into liquidation.

Further, he said that on March 10, 2015 he declined an appointment and refunded money that had been placed into his practice’s trust account by DNV Accountants & Advisors, which showed neither he nor Jirsch were reliant on referrals from a source now known to have been tainted.

And speaking of referral relationships, if you want to know what Crisp thinks about the Pitchers/ATO relevant relationship see: Pitcher’s Phoenix Probe Yields Liquidators’ Names.

Correction and Clarification: An earlier version of this story reported that Glenn Crisp had been replaced as liquidator of Punchbowl Fencing. That was not correct. Glenn Crisp remains liquidator of Punchbowl Fencing. In the case of Firebrace Life, the earlier story did not include the detail that Crisp voted general proxies he held as chairperson of the meeting in favour of a resolution to replace him as liquidator.

About the Author

Peter Gosnell
Insolvency News Online illuminates the practice of insolvency Australia-wide, highlighting the triumphs and travails of the nation’s registered practitioners and the accounting and legal professionals who work with them. INO is produced by Peter Gosnell, former business editor and senior business reporter at The Daily Telegraph newspaper. During a decade-long career, your correspondent reported on such notable corporate collapses as HIH, One.Tel, Westpoint and Fincorp as well as some of the nation's highest profile bankruptcies and the investigations and prosecutions arising from Australia's most notorious instances of white-collar crime.

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