It’s generally agreed among the registered liquidator population that there are too few proceedings commenced against pre-insolvency advisors.
The primary reasons are of course practical.
It’s costly to prosecute claims of creditor defeating dispositions and if the advisors have done their job the liquidators won’t have any assets they can tap to pay lawyers.
Without external funding whatever sharp practice or worse that liquidators might identify routinely goes unpunished.
But in the case of TSK QLD Pty Ltd, liquidators Anthony Connelly and Jamie Harris of McGrathNicol have taken control of more than $350,000 that Scottish Pacific (ScotPac) had juiced from pre-appointment debtors, and after expending a portion conducting public examinations commenced proceedings last week in the Federal Court of Australia.
Among the defendants listed is one Ben Whitehouse, the CEO of Viden Holdings and of Rekover Pty Ltd, which in Whitehouse’s own words “is a subsidiary operation of Viden Holdings and drives the business recovery and turn-around (or pre-insolvency) services of the group”.
Whitehouse was the original referrer of the administration to Queensland practitioner Gavin Morton, who was replaced by the McGrathNicol pair at the behest of the Australian Tax Office (ATO) at the second meeting of creditors in March this year.
iNO understands that the liquidators are pressing claims of creditor defeating dispositions; uncommercial transactions and breaches of director’s duties against the defendants who also include TSK QLD director Savas Papadopolous and former director Ciano St John Lopez.
How or even if Whitehouse’s involvement will respond to those claims is as yet unclear. iNO makes no suggestion of wrongdoing.
The matter is due to return to court for a first case management hearing on December 9 and we anticipate reporting in more detail shortly.