In­ves­ti­ga­tors drop B3 case

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

THE Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion has dropped its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Bistro 3 di­rec­tor Henry Pre­ston for al­leged in­sol­vent trad­ing.

When Bistro 3 went into vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion in May and ad­min­is­tra­tors Hall Chad­wick, which is now the liq­uida­tor, started in­ves­ti­gat­ing, it found ev­i­dence of in­sol­vent trad­ing and re­ported it to ASIC.

The com­pany traded at a loss for two years, with money ow­ing to staff su­per­an­nu­a­tion of over $180,000, se­cured cred­i­tors over $180,000 and un­se­cured cred­i­tors, in­clud­ing the ATO and sup­pli­ers of over $2.2 mil­lion.

In­sol­vent trad­ing oc­curs when a com­pany is un­able to pay its debts when they are due to be paid.

ASIC’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Danielle McInerney said she was un­able to con­firm any­thing.

“The Cor­po­ra­tions Act places an obli­ga­tion on the liq­uida­tor of a com­pany to re­port to ASIC where they are of the opin­ion that an of­fence has been com­mit­ted,” she said.

“The de­tails con­tained in such re­ports are confidential to ASIC, as is our con­sid­er­a­tion of such re­ports.

“ASIC is there­fore un­able to com­ment on the re­ceipt, or our con­sid­er­a­tion, of any such re­ports.”

Hall Chad­wick liq­uida­tor David Ross said he re­ported his find­ings to ASIC, but ASIC con­firmed they did not in­tend to con­duct fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“The next step (for those owed money) would be pro­ceed­ing with an ac­tion against the di­rec­tor for in­sol­vent trad­ing,” he said.

“You need to phone the liq­uida­tor (my­self), the liq­uida­tor needs to pur­sue the ac­tion and we’ve sent de­mands off in re­spect to in­sol­vent trad­ing (to di­rec­tor Henry Pre­ston) and haven’t had a re­sponse.

“As far as I’m aware the di­rec­tor hasn’t re­sponded to any de­fences he may have avail­able.”

While the lengthy process is con­tin­u­ing with no end in sight, Mr Ross said he is in­ves­ti­gat­ing any un­avoid­able transactions, any of­fences and pref­er­en­tial pay­ments, which in­clude Henry Pre­ston pay­ing a lump sum to the Aus­tralian Tax Of­fice be­fore go­ing into ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In the ad­min­is­tra­tor’s re­port to the cred­i­tors it showed the shock clo­sure of the pop­u­lar Port Dou­glas res­tau­rant was be­cause the Aus­tralian Tax Of­fice made a move to re­claim owed money.

The tried to contact Mr Pre­ston but he did not re­spond.

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