NSW director disqualified from managing corporations for four years after engaging in illegal phoenix activity

ASIC has disqualified former director Giocchino Volpes from Glenhaven, NSW, from managing corporations for four years after his involvement in two failed companies.

Between 2016 and 2022, Mr Volpes was a director of two companies which operated in the automotive mechanical repair industry:

  • PALS (NSW) Pty Ltd (A.C.N. 609 139 353); and
  • Max Mobile Mechanics Pty Ltd (A.C.N. 160 405 881) (deregistered)

ASIC found that Mr Volpes:

  • failed to ensure payment of statutory debts owed to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO);
  • failed to ensure compliance with record keeping obligations;
  • improperly used his position as a director by paying funds intended to be paid to the ATO into two personal bank accounts to the detriment of the companies;
  • failed to prevent the companies from trading whilst insolvent;
  • failed to provide a Report on Company Activities and Property and to deliver books and records to the liquidator for PALS; and
  • improperly used his position as director when he transferred the business or assets of the two indebted companies to other companies. This is commonly known as illegal phoenix activity.

At the time of ASIC’s decision, the two companies owed a combined total of $1,610,000 to unsecured creditors, including $1,506,796 owed to the ATO.

In disqualifying Mr Volpes, ASIC relied upon supplementary reports lodged by David Samson as liquidator of PALS (NSW) and Paul Weston, as liquidator of Max Mobile Mechanics.

Mr Volpes is disqualified from managing corporations until 9 February 2026.

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

Background

Section 206F of the Corporations Act gives ASIC the power to disqualify a person from managing corporations for up to five years if, within a seven year period, the person was an officer of two or more companies that were wound up and the liquidators lodge reports with ASIC about each 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); orpractising in the financial services or credit industry

ASIC is a member of the Phoenix Taskforce, which comprises federal, state and territory government agencies who collaborate to combat illegal phoenix activity. The aim of the Phoenix Taskforce is to provide a whole-of-government approach to identify, disrupt and prosecute those who engage in or facilitate illegal phoenix activity.

ASIC continues to use its regulatory tools of engagement, surveillance and enforcement to identify and disrupt illegal phoenix activity.

Suspected phoenix activity can be reported to ASIC or the ATO by calling 1800 060 062, online at the ATO website

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