ASIC disqualifies former Victorian director for breaching directors’ duties

ASIC has disqualified James Sackl, of Southbank, Victoria, from managing corporations for three years and six months due to his involvement in the failure of five companies.

Between October 2013 and December 2018 Mr Sackl was a director of:

  • Dash Technologies Pty Ltd (ACN 611 629 773)
  • Ad Astra Institute Pty Ltd (ACN 611 629 693)
  • Karma3 Upcycling Pty Ltd (ACN 619 998 104)
  • Sino Resources Group (Aust) Pty Ltd (ACN 609 061 234); and
  • Universal Personnel Pty Ltd (ACN 166 106 681).

Dash operated a software development business, Ad Astra operated a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) cooking school, Karma3 operated a business producing animal feed, Sino Resources operated a migration agency and Universal operated a business that found employment for immigrants.

ASIC found that Mr Sackl failed to comply with his core duties as a director when he:

  • generally acted with a lack of commercial morality and incompetence by failing to ensure taxes, superannuation and worker’s insurance premiums were paid
  • failed to ensure Dash and Ad Astra maintained proper financial records, including the lodgement of business activity statements and PAYG summaries with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO);
  • failed to ensure Ad Astra operated its business as an RTO to the standard required by law;
  • failed to adequately manage Karma3’s financial position;
  • improperly used his position to gain an advantage for himself and his mother by causing Dash to enter a refinancing agreement for the purpose of obtaining funds to settle personal loans;
  • failed to prevent Dash and Ad Astra from trading whilst insolvent;
  • failed to submit a Report on Company Activities and Property to the liquidators of Dash, Karma3 and Sino; and
  • failed to provide the liquidator of Dash with a copy of relevant software, Xero records and access to its bank accounts as soon as practicable after winding up.

At the time of ASIC’s decision, the five companies owed a combined total of $2.9m to creditors, including $830,000 owing to the ATO and $118,800 to the Attorney-General’s Department in relation to the Fair Entitlements Guarantee.

In disqualifying Mr Sackl, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by Dash’s liquidator, James Koutsoukos of BRI Ferrier and Ad Astra’s liquidator, Richard Rohrt of Hamilton Murphy. ASIC assisted Mr Koutsoukos and Mr Rohrt to prepare their reports by providing funding from the Assetless Administration Fund.

Mr Sackl is disqualified from managing corporations until 3 November 2025.

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

Background

Mr Sackl became a bankrupt on 13 November 2020 and has not been discharged. In determining the period of disqualification, ASIC considered that Mr Sackl’s conduct warranted the maximum 5-year period but took into account that Mr Sackl has effectively been prohibited from managing corporations from the date of his bankruptcy.

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 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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