VAs and ATO at odds over alleged $150m fraud

Jones Partners principal Bruce Gleeson.
Jones Partners Daniel Soire.

Barring any road to Damascus conversion, Bruce Gleeson and Daniel Soire might anticipate hostility from certain quarters when they finally reconvene the second meeting of creditors of Dalma Form Specialist Pty Ltd (DFS).

The Jones Partners‘ pair adjourned the second meeting on February 7 for up to 45 business days, ostensibly so they could conduct investigations into matters brought to their attention by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in correspondence received a few days after they were appointed as administrators of DFS on December 27, 2023.

In that correspondence the ATO advised that it was investigating individuals associated with DFS in respect of a possible $150 million tax fraud allegedly involving more than 30 companies over 10 to 15 years.

Further, the ATO reminded Gleeson that he’d acted as an administrator for three companies related to the same individuals linked to DFS more than 10 years ago.

Given Gleeson and Soire’s DIRRI had made no reference to the earlier appointments it looked like conflict checks in the Jones Partners’ offices didn’t reach back a decade, not that that would be common practice in many firms.

The administrators issued a replacement DIRRI on February 7, disclosing that Gleeson had acted as liquidator, voluntary administrator and deed administrator in respect of three companies, two of which were linked to Rade Cikes, the father of Mr Igor Cikes, whom the ATO said “may be a party involved in the alleged fraud and the “controlling mind” of the (Dalma) Group”. iNO makes no suggestion of wrongdoing.

Given the amount of time that’s elapsed however and Gleeson’s good name in the profession, one might think the ATO would have been content to let the incumbents get on with working out if they should recommend the DoCA being proposed by DFS sole director Jason Ivan Andrijic, 39 of Chatswood or a winding up. Not a chance.

At a meeting attended by the administrators and the ATO on January 5 ahead of the first meeting of creditors the ATO said it wanted Gleeson and Soire to relinquish the administration so its preferred nominee, Stephen Hathway of Helm Advisory, could take over. The Jones Partners pair however were not inclined to retire.

“At the resumed First Meeting of Creditors held on 12 January 2024, the resolution for our
removal and replacement as Voluntary Administrators was considered,” Gleeson and Soire said in their January 30, 2024 Report to DFS creditors.

“Following a poll, the resolution was not passed and we therefore remain as Voluntary Administrators of the Company,” they said.

As the Minutes of that first meeting have yet be made public on ASIC’s company records register we’re unable to provide insights into the identity of those creditors admitted to vote.

What is clear is that the ATO has refused to consider funding Gleeson and Soire, or, according to their most recent report, provide information about the alleged fraud that would assist their investigations.

Given creditors were advised on January 30 that the second meeting would be adjourned to allow the administrators more time to undertake those inquiries, the ATO’s refusal to provide any detailed information would seem to render any further resistance futile.

Further reading:

Rival IPs bound for court over alleged $150m fraud

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