dVT founders cop whopper Timbercorp debt

dVT Group co-founder Anton De Vries
dVT’s Riad Tayeh

iNO hears that Riad Tayeh has for some time been planning to let his liquidator’s registration lapse ahead of a general easing into the next phase of his lengthy career but a recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Victoria might see the amiable dVT Group co-founder forced to take a more decisive path, one possibly involving a declaration of bankruptcy.

The reasons for such a potential course lie in the findings of Victorian Supreme Court Judge Peter Riordan, who on February 5 ruled that Tayeh and dVT co-founder Antony De Vries are personally liable to pay principal and interest on $1,226.648.54c they borrowed in 2006 and 2007 to fund their entry into the myriad and ill-fated managed investment schemes offered by Timbercorp.

iNO readers may recall that after investing more than $2 billion in myriad agricultural projects Timbercorp was tipped into administration in April 2009, with Mark Korda and Craig Shepard of KordaMentha subsequently appointed liquidators to the group two months later.

Whilst the liquidators have developed a very broad recovery process that involves mediation and even hardship pathways, it would seem that their efforts have fallen on barren ground in respect of Tayeh and De Vries, who may now be on the hook for a sum swelled by interest of up to 13.20 per cent per annum.

iNO is no arithmetician but given the loans were granted 15 years ago we know Korda and Shepard will be chasing the dVT pair for many millions.

We wonder what De Vries and Tayeh have done with the proceeds from the sale of the office building they owned in Parramatta, which has since been demolished to make way for a new development in Sydney’s geographical centre?

Neither of the dVT pair responded to iNO’s requests for comment but in his reasons Justice Riordan confirmed that he entered judgment “for Timbercorp Finance in respect of each of the loan agreements …. and I will hear the parties on the questions of the principal sums outstanding, interest and costs.”

It’s been well known in Sydney insolvency circles for some time that Tayeh is intending to let his liquidator’s registration lapse and if he’s pursued for his portion of the judgment debt bankruptcy may well be an option.

As for De Vries, we’re not able to report on his plans, though bankruptcy would pose immediate problems in respect of maintaining his registrations as both a liquidator and as a trustee in bankruptcy.

Hopefully he’ll clear the air in respect of how he intends to respond to the judgment and the likelihood of pursuit by Korda and Shepard as soon as possible.

You can read the judgment at: Timbercorp Finance Pty Ltd (in liq) v Antony De Vries and Riad Tayeh [2021] VSC 37

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