Investigators drop B3 case
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.