A number of further companies related to unlicensed fund manager PE Capital have been wound up, with debts at one entity likely to exceed assets by over $8 million as liquidators find the directors may have been trading while insolvent.
In May, ASIC moved to initiate court proceedings against PE Capital Funds Management, alleging it had operated a number of unregistered managed investment schemes and seeking orders from the Federal Court in Queensland to wind up a number of related entities.
“ASIC alleges that PE Capital Funds Management invested funds raised via the schemes in eight PE Capital special purpose vehicles (SPVs),” the regulator said at the time.
“ASIC also alleges that the invested funds were then utilised by the SPVs in the development of eight mixed use commercial and residential projects located throughout Victoria.”
Separate proceedings have also been occurring in the Supreme Court of Victoria where creditors of one of the PE Capital SPVs, Wollert Project Investments, have been successful in a bid to order the winding up of holding company PE Capital Nominees.
According to court documents from early August, Gideon Rathner and Matthew Sweeny of restructuring firm Lowe Lippmann have been appointed liquidators of the company.
A liquidators’ report for a further related SPV, PEC Amstel Nominees, estimates the company owes almost $11 million to unsecured creditors, with just $2.6 million in available assets.
The report indicates the liquidators, accountancy firm Hall Chadwick, are “[considering] the commerciality of commencing action in relation to any voidable transactions and insolvent trading”.
The liquidators indicated there was evidence in their investigations to indicate a range of alleged offences by the company’s directors, including failure to exercise reasonable care in discharging directors’ duties, failure to act in good faith, improper use of position to gain an advantage, improper use of information and insolvent trading.
The report names Martyn Barnes, who was also chair of PE Capital, as a director of the company, along with Sam Osborne and Simon Day, former PE Capital chief executive, as potential shadow directors. Mr Barnes’ LinkedIn lists him as based in Dubai and a managing director of Barnes Capital.
Liquidators noted assets in Mr Barnes’ name consisted of one property that had been subject to three mortgages since 2019.
ASIC states its investigation against the group is continuing, with the next hearing in its Federal Court case set for September.
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