Alleged shadow director charged with failing to co-operate during liquidator’s public

Mr Paul Annesley of Bulla, Victoria, has appeared in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court after being charged with failing to answer questions during a liquidator’s public examination.

Mr Annesley was summonsed to appear at a public examination at the Supreme Court of Victoria on 24 February 2017 on application of Mr Jason Stone and Mr Glen Franklin, of PKF Australia, who were appointed Liquidators (the Liquidators) of Fleurie Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) (the Company). The Liquidators sought to examine Mr Annesley about his involvement and knowledge about the affairs of the Company and believed he was a shadow director of the Company.

During the public examination, Mr Annesley allegedly refused to answer questions about the Company. Judicial Registrar Hetyey, who oversaw the public examination, warned Mr Annesley that he was required to answer the questions. Despite the warning, Mr Annesley allegedly continued to not answer questions.

Following the public examination, the matter was referred to ASIC for investigation. ASIC supported the liquidator by bringing charges for refusing to answer questions.

Mr Annesley first appeared on 7 May 2019. The matter has been adjourned to 4 June 2019.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

Background

On application of external administrators, a court can issue summons requiring persons to attend and answer questions at a public examination about the affairs companies in external administration.

Any person failing to attend or refusing to answer questions without having a reasonable excuse commits a criminal offence carrying a maximum term of two years imprisonment.

Anyone acting as a ‘shadow director’ can be held responsible and accountable to the same duties and liabilities as a director, even if not formally appointed as one. See here for more information.

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