ASIC disqualifies former restaurant director for four years

ASIC has disqualified former director Gunashaker Senthamilselvan, of Baulkham Hills, NSW, from managing corporations for four years due to his involvement in the failure of two companies.

Between October 2014 and September 2021, Mr Senthamilselvan was the director of two companies that operated in the restaurant industry:

  • Poongothai Pty Ltd (ACN 602 125 851); and
  • Adhie Anna Pty Ltd (ACN 626 315 188).

Poongothai operated two restaurants both trading under the name ‘The Grand Pavilion Indian Restaurant’ from leased premises at Warners Bay and Terrigal in NSW. Adhie Anna operated a restaurant trading under the name ‘The Grand Pavilion Indian Restaurant’ in Sydney, NSW.

ASIC found that Mr Senthamilselvan acted improperly and failed to meet his obligations as director when he:

  • failed to ensure Poongothai complied with its statutory obligations to lodge various documents with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO);
  • allowed Poongothai and Adhie Anna to incur debts where there were reasonable grounds for suspecting that the company was not in a position to pay them;
  • negotiated and assisted with the transfer of Poongothai and Adhie Anna’s business to an unrelated party, for no consideration;
  • used $157,217 of Poongothai’s company funds for what appearto be personal expenses;
  • attempted to recover Poongothai’s bond paid in relation to the Warners Bay lease;
  • failed to take all reasonable steps to secure compliance with its obligation to retain Adhie Anna’s financial records for seven years; and
  • deposited the bond or security deposit of Adhie Anna into his personal account, following the surrender of the lease of the Sydney premises.

At the time of ASIC’s decision, Poongothai owed a combined total of $1,315,698.17 to unsecured creditors, including $445,947.39 owing to the Australian Taxation Office. It is unclear how much is owed by Adhie Anna as no books and records were provided to the liquidator.

In disqualifying Mr Senthamilselvan, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by Poongothai’s liquidator, Jeff Shute of Shaw Gidley and Adhie Anna’s liquidator, Vincent Pirina, formerly of Veritas Advisory and now of Aston Chace Group.

Mr Senthamilselvan is disqualified from managing corporations until 16 June 2026.

Mr Senthamilselvan has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Background

Section 206F of the Corporations Act allows ASIC to disqualify a person from managing corporations for a maximum period of five years if, within a seven year period, the person was an officer of two or more companies, and those companies were wound up and a liquidator provides a report to ASIC about each of the company’s inability to pay its debts.

ASIC also maintains a banned and disqualified persons register that provides information about people who have been disqualified from:

  • involvement in the management of a corporation;
  • auditing self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs); or
  • practising in the financial services or credit industry.

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