‘Ponzi’ firms in liq­ui­da­tion

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

Six com­pa­nies at the heart of an al­leged $200 mil­lion Pil­bara Ponzi scheme have been put into pro­vi­sional liq­ui­da­tion by the Fed­eral Court.

Jus­tice Michael Barker last Wed­nes­day ap­pointed KPMG’s Hay­den White and Matthew Woods as pro­vi­sional liq­uida­tors of six com­pa­nies as­so­ci­ated with wouldbe Pil­bara real es­tate de­vel­oper Veron­ica Macpher­son after the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion ap­plied for the move as part of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the al­leged Ponzi scheme.

ASIC claims the al­leged scheme has taken up to $200 mil­lion from in­vestors in Aus­tralia, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Bri­tain and beyond.

The com­pa­nies are all be­lieved to have been cen­trally in­volved in pro­mo­tion and man­age­ment of Ms Macpher­son’s New­man Es­tate project, a 240-lot devel­op­ment in the Pil­bara.

ASIC said last Wed­nes­day it had ap­plied for the ap­point­ment of liq­uida­tors be­cause it as­serted in the pro­ceed­ings be­fore the court that the com­pa­nies had been “in­volved in mul­ti­ple con­tra­ven­tions of the cor­po­ra­tions leg­is­la­tion and are not com­ply­ing with their obli­ga­tions un­der that leg­is­la­tion, were not be­ing prop­erly man­aged and are sus­pected to be in­sol­vent”.

The com­pa­nies in­clude Macro Realty De­vel­op­ments Pty Ltd, Macro Realty De­vel­op­ments AFSL Pty Ltd, Macro All State In­vest­ments and Se­cu­ri­ties Ltd, Pil­bara Prop­erty De­vel­op­ments Pty Ltd, Macro Realty Pty Ltd, and 511 GTN Pty Ltd.

The last was al­ready in re­ceiver­ship after a Hong Kong hedge fund that was a ma­jor early lender to Ms Macpher­son ap­pointed FTI Con­sult­ing to re­cover its in­vest­ment.

Jus­tice Barker or­dered that the liq­uida­tors pre­pare a re­port for the court out­lin­ing the es­ti­mated as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties of the group, an opin­ion as to their sol­vency, and in­ves­ti­gate whether any breaches of the Cor­po­ra­tions Act had been com­mit­ted by the com­pa­nies and di­rec­tors.

Ms Macpher­son ap­peared in court and did not op­pose the ap­point­ment of the liq­uida­tors.

ASIC’s win comes as in­vestors ramp up ef­forts to re­claim some money they be­lieve they are owed after the Macro Realty Devel­op­ment group ceased pay­ments a year ago.

Pic­ture: Steve Fer­rier

Veron­ica Macpher­son.

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