ASIC bans Willmott Forests liquidator

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will remove the liquidator appointed to the collapsed Willmott Forests agribusiness scheme, following an investigation into undisclosed payments.

The Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALDB) has ordered the cancellation of the registration of Avitus Fernandez of Fernandez Partners in Melbourne.

Appointed to the Willmott Forests case in September 2010, Mr Fernandez reportedly received a payment of $200,000 from a Willmott bank account, which he failed to disclose to receivers and managers.

In its investigation of the matter, ASIC also alleged that Mr Fernandez failed to disclose the payment to replacement administrators or to make mention of it in the three declarations of independence, relevant relationships and indemnities.

The board concluded Mr Fernandez had “failed to carry out or perform adequately and properly duties or functions of an administrator, and was not a fit and proper person to remain registered as a liquidator”.

ASIC Commissioner John Price also commented on the case, describing Mr Fernandez’s conduct as “unacceptable and inconsistent with the standards required of liquidators”.

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