Wednesday 14 March 2007 LAWFUEL – Law News Network – The Australian…

Wednesday 14 March 2007 LAWFUEL – Law News Network – The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) disqualified twelve directors in February from managing corporations following their involvement in failed companies. Mr Michael Strugnell and Ms Elizabeth Cole Hairdressers Mr Michael Strugnell of South Melbourne and Ms Elizabeth Cole of Kingsville, Victoria, have each been banned by ASIC from managing companies for one year.

The banning follows an ASIC investigation into their involvement in two failed companies, Headstart Corporation Pty Ltd and Future Investments Pty Ltd. ASIC found that Mr Strugnell and Ms Cole failed to prevent the companies from trading while insolvent and that they engaged in phoenix activity by winding up the companies, transferring assets and operating liabilities into new companies and leaving statutory debts in the liquidated entities.

Mr Fedele D’Amico ASIC has banned retailer Mr Fedele D’Amico of Altona North, Victoria, from managing companies for four years. Mr D’Amico’s banning follows an ASIC investigation into his involvement in three failed businesses, Baby Bear Pty Ltd, F B Express Pty Ltd and Quality Car Interiors Pty Ltd. ASIC found that Mr D’Amico falsified invoices during an audit of F B Express conducted by the Australian Taxation Office.

Mr D’Amico also unlawfully used his position as a director of Baby Bear to obtain a personal benefit by selling a Mercedes Benz motor vehicle that was leased by the company and retaining the proceeds of the sale. Mr Marc Douglas Withnall ASIC has banned property developer Mr Marc Douglas Withnall of Noosaville, Queensland, from managing companies for three years. Mr Withnall’s banning follows an ASIC investigation into his involvement in five failed companies: Parsonage Estate Land Company Pty Ltd, Norwich Finance Corp Pty Ltd, Viscount Pty Ltd, Knole Pty Ltd, and Kayuu Pty Ltd.

ASIC found Mr Withnall failed to take reasonable steps to ensure books and records were maintained, permitted one of the companies to trade while it was insolvent, failed to provide the liquidator with required information in relation to two companies and failed to pay taxes. Mr John Paul Elcham ASIC has banned construction business operator Mr John Paul Elcham of Waverley, New South Wales, from managing companies for three years. Mr J Elcham’s banning follows an ASIC investigation into his involvement in three failed companies: Elcorp Constructions Pty Ltd, Dewpine Pty Ltd and Danmar Insite Pty Ltd. ASIC found that Mr J Elcham breached his director’s duties by allowing Elcorp Constructions and Dewpine to trade while insolvent, and by failing to keep adequate books and records for these companies.

At the time of winding up all three companies had significant debts to creditors, the Australian Taxation Office and to employees. Mr Robert Peter Elcham ASIC has banned construction business operator Mr Robert Peter Elcham (brother of John Paul Elcham) of Concord New South Wales, from managing companies for three years. Mr R Elcham’s banning follows an ASIC investigation into his involvement in four failed companies: Elcorp Constructions Pty Ltd, Formcon Australia Pty Ltd, Dewpine Pty Ltd, and Formwork Constructions Pty Ltd.

ASIC found that Mr R Elcham breached his director’s duties by failing to make reasonable inquiries of the financial status of Elcorp Constructions preventing it from trading while insolvent. Elcorp Constructions had outstanding employee entitlements and superannuation liabilities, outstanding judgement debts to trade creditors and debts owing to the Australian Taxation Office. ASIC also found that Mr R Elcham’s actions, in knowingly incorporating and managing a company while disqualified, showed a serious disregard for the standard of reasonable behaviour expected of directors. Ms Sharon Leanne Theresa O’Neill Ms Sharon O’Neill, a childcare operator, of Dandenong, Victoria has been banned by ASIC from managing companies for four years. Ms O’Neill’s banning follows an ASIC investigation into her involvement in four failed companies: Little Treasures Holdings Pty Ltd, ACN 086 112 183 Pty Ltd (HSPM), Son Services Pty Ltd and ACN 103 686 531 Pty Ltd (Oz Choice Home Loans).

ASIC found that Little Treasures, HSPM and Son Services collapsed owing substantial amounts to unsecured creditors and to the Australian Taxation Office and that Ms O’Neill personally neglected to ensure that these three companies maintained adequate books and records. ASIC further found that Ms O’Neill breached her duties as a director by engaging in phoenix activity relating to the sale of the Little Treasures and HSPM businesses. Mr Brian Malcolm Culley and Mrs Anne Culley ASIC has banned husband and wife directors Mr Brian Malcolm Culley and Mrs Anne Culley of Port Melbourne, Victoria, from managing companies for two years and one year respectively.

The Culleys were banned following an ASIC investigation into their joint involvement in two failed companies, Oriental Experience Pty Ltd and Construction Resources Pty Ltd and a further two companies of which Mr Brian Culley was a director, B M C Special Projects Pty Ltd and B M Culley & Associates Pty Ltd. ASIC found that Mrs Culley breached her duties as a director by failing to act with due care and diligence by taking no active role in the management of the companies. ASIC also found that the Culleys breached their directors’ duties by allowing the companies to trade while insolvent and to accrue significant statutory debts. Mr Peter James Watson and Mrs Jill Kathleen Watson ASIC has banned husband and wife directors Mr Peter James Watson and Mrs Jill Kathleen Watson of Ballina, New South Wales, for two years each. Mr & Mrs Watson were banned following an ASIC investigation into their involvement in two failed companies, Bars Are Us Pty Ltd and Peter Watson Body Repairs Pty Ltd.

ASIC found that Mr & Mrs Watson failed to pay statutory debts to the Australian Taxation Office, failed to assist the liquidator of Bar Are Us and allowed the companies to trade while insolvent. The above disqualified directors have the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision. For further information contact: Greg Tanzer Executive Director Consumer Protection Telephone: (07) 3867 4704 Mobile: 0411 549 144 Name: Michael van Maanen ASIC Media Unit Telephone: (02) 9911 2275 Mobile: 0412 500 351

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