David John Leigh, the suspended liquidator who’s alleged to have purloined up to $800,000, could be preparing to enter a guilty plea when he returns to the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court on November 2.
In September Leigh, 56, of Sherwood in Brisbane was summonsed to appear on three counts of dishonestly gaining a pecuniary benefit in excess of $100,000 on each count on July 25, 2017, September 11, 2017 and November 9, 2017.
The charges were laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
According to ASIC, the maximum custodial penalty where the value of the fraud is at least $100,000 is 20 years.
Leigh is also facing recovery proceedings brought by his former employer PPB Advisory (PPBA) and civil proceedings brought by ASIC.
In April 2018 Leigh lodged a notice of intention to defend proceedings initiated after it was revealed in February that PPBA had uncovered discrepancies in relation to the accounts of Neolido Holdings (in Liquidation).
When asked this week to clarify his position in terms of the criminal matters in light of the notice of intention to defend Leigh would say only that: ” …. those are different proceedings”.
In Leigh To Defend PPBA/Neolido Fraud Claim INO reported that Leigh was being assessed in respect of the state of his mental health during the period when the offences are alleged to have been committed.
The discovery of the fraud by PPBA partner Grant Sparks – who had remained sole liquidator of Neolido Holdings after Leigh left PPBA bound for HLB Mann Judd in December 2017 – saw PPBA voluntarily relinquish the appointment.
PPBA was then required to make good the balance of the liquidation account which Leigh’s alleged to have diminished on personal expenses, though precisely what he spent the money on is the subject of considerable speculation given it emerged that Leigh had directed $100,000 of the total $800,000 misappropriated to Neolido Holdings’ secured creditor, Capital Access Australia (CAA).
Neolido Holding’s new liquidators – Andrew Fielding and Helen Newman of BDO – withdrew from the action initiated by PPBA after all parties entered into a deed of settlement.
Fielding told INO this week that the entire settlement sum received from PPBA was handed over to CAA and that despite obtaining fresh legal advice about the validity of CAA’s security from Norton Rose, he and Newman currently had no plans to challenge it.
Both of the civil actions are in the Supreme Court of Queensland, with the ASIC action returning to the court today.
INO sought comment from lawyer Billy Fitzgerald who is acting for Leigh in the civil proceedings. Fitzgerald did not return calls.