Iannuzzi inquiry bid kicks off with assault on evidence

Facing inquiry call - Liquidator David Iannuzzi

Liquidator David Iannuzzi.

The much anticipated hearing of the Commissioner of Taxation’s application for a Federal Court inquiry into Sydney liquidator David Iannuzzi commenced this week with his defence team signalling a challenge to the admissibility of the ATO’s evidence.

Iannuzzi is facing a multi prong attack from the ATO, which is seeking to have the court inquire into his conduct; an order that he be banned from holding registration as a liquidator for a period of 10 years; and that he compensate creditors of a swag of companies to which he was appointed liquidator but is alleged to have failed to adequately investigate.

SiN makes no suggestion of any wrongdoing and Iannuzzi rejects the ATO’s allegations completely.

On Monday his defence team come out swinging, telling Federal Court Justice Nye Perram that all the material the ATO is relying on was inadmissible because it was not being utilised to pursue a breach of tax law.

As was argued by Iannuzzi’s counsel Ian Pike SC, an application for an inquiry into a liquidator’s conduct does not relate to taxation law. If the judge agreed he said, the Commissioner’s case would collapse completely.

The judge did not agree. He ruled that the evidence – much of it produced in response to the Commissioner of Taxation’s far reaching powers of compulsion – could be admitted and so the first question – whether or not there should be an inquiry into Iannuzzi’s conduct – is now in the process of being resolved by Justice Perram, who reserved his judgment.

Further reading:

Liquidator Facing 10 Year Ban

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.

1 Comment on "Iannuzzi inquiry bid kicks off with assault on evidence"

  1. From a perception point of view, challenging the admissibility of the evidence, as opposed to dealing with the issues raised by that evidence, is rarely a good look to a third party observer. It is a tactical decision, often made by the advocate involved.

    I wonder if, when considered in a more commercial sense, addressing of the matters raised in detail to demonstrate that the same is a selective sample of conduct, is inaccurate or simply wrong would have provided the relevant liquidator with a better public relations headline. After all, reputational damage to a matter that should always be considered by lawyers, not just costs or whether the point they are seeking to make may be correct.

    I am curious what others think about these types of considerations, and just how often liquidators actively consider this very real issue of public perception?

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