Hall Chadwick’s Richard Albarran and Brent Kijurina have lodged a detailed and informative declaration of independence, indemnities and relevant relationships (DIRRI) after accepting an appointment as administrators of Validus Advisory Group.
The detail was necessary to explain why there was no unmanageable conflicts given that Hall Chadwick’s Blair Pleash and Kathleen Vouris had previously been administrators of a deed of company arrangement (DoCA) executed by the Consolidated Tin Mines (CTM), the company whose creditor’s petition precipitated Validus’ decision last week to appoint Albarran and Kijurina.
Coincidentally, Validus’s lawyer is none other than Steve Agosta of Nelson McKinnon which as Albarran and Kijurina explained in their DIRRI is a regular referrer of work to Hall Chadwick.
Agosta and Nelson McKinnon are also acting for Albarran and Kijurina in their role as liquidators of Hartford Investments as they investigate possible links between Hartford’s director Christian Paul Budd Madison and parties connected to the alleged $165 million Plutus Payroll tax fraud.
In addition the DIRRI reveals that Validus’s appointing director Richard Warner has from time to time referred “some client opportunities” to Hall Chadwick partner David Kenney and conducted “some client seminars” with Kenny.
The dispute between CTM and Validus goes back to July 2016 when CTM engaged Validus as corporate advisor with a view to raising urgently needed funds.
The parties entered into the agreement on July 6 and $250,000 was put in a trust account for Validus to utilise in its multi-faceted role, which was detailed by NSW Supreme Court judge Jim Stevenson in: Validus Advisory Group Pty Ltd v Consolidated Tin Mines Ltd; Consolidated Tin Mines Ltd v Validus Advisory Group Pty Ltd  NSWSC 417 (6 April 2018).
Between July 13 and July 18, 2016 a number of funds transfers were effected from the Validus trust account following email authorisation from CTM, including two payments totalling $40,000 to Hall Chadwick.
This might’ve been to pay for Hall Chadwick’s fees as investigating accountants, an engagement with CTM that commenced on July 8, just two days after CTM engaged Validus.
Then on July 19 CTM appointed Pleash and Vouris as voluntary administrators (VA) and the DoCA was executed shortly afterwards.
By January 2017 Validus had raised $34 million in equity and by February 2017 it confirmed that it had fulfilled its engagement obligations.
The CTM DoCA had also been effectuated in January 2017, with control of the company passing back to the directors while Pleash and Vouris assumed the role of trustees of the resultant creditors’ trust.
A month later Validus commenced proceedings against CTM for recovery of $449,253.20, being a payment representing 3 per cent of the amount raised as part of the agreement between Validus and CTM.
The only problem was that Validus didn’t hold an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) and as Justice Stevenson found, CTM was in fact entitled to recover the quarter million it placed into the Validus trust account.
Since the Stevenson judgment the two entities have slugged it out over things like security for costs and last week, with another judgment imminent Validus must’ve decided it was time to appoint VAs of its own. Given the relationships and the history, it’s no surprise the job came Hall Chadwick’s way.