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16-127MR Turnaround business advisor sentenced for aiding and abetting breach of director's duty
Following an ASIC investigation, Mr Stephen Charles Hall, a director of Eagle Business Solutions Pty Ltd (EBS) has been convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $6,600 for dishonestly aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring another director to breach their director duties.
Mr Hall, of the Gold Coast, Queensland and EBS provide turnaround business advice to directors of companies experiencing financial difficulties.
ASIC's investigation found that Mr Hall had cold-called a company director who had received a wind up notification from the Australian Taxation Office. After being engaged by the director, Mr Hall aided the director to dishonestly use his position as a company director to conceal the actual ownership of company assets from the liquidator appointed to his company.
In doing so, the director attempted to prevent the liquidator from realising the assets of the company that could have been used to pay outstanding debts owed to creditors. The director also attempted to gain a benefit when he continued to assert control over the company assets for his own benefit. The period of Mr Hall's misconduct took place between 10 September 2013 and 20 December 2013.
ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, 'Gatekeepers, such as business advisers, are trusted to give advice that is lawful and in the best interest of their clients. This plays an important role in facilitating and maintaining the integrity of the commercial system.
'This outcome is important and sends a clear message to business advisers and other gatekeepers that they will be held personally responsible for knowingly providing advice to clients that causes their clients to act illegally', Mr Tanzer said.
As a result of the conviction, Mr Hall will automatically be disqualified from managing a corporation for a period of five years.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
On 26 April 2016, Mr Hall appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to section 184(2)(a) of the Corporations Act as applied by clause 11.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code in that he aided, abetted, counsel or procure another director to use his position as a director with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself.
ASIC continues its focus on advisors offering advice to companies in financial distress. We work with other government agencies and registered liquidators to disrupt misconduct and enforce the law. This includes funding liquidators under the Assetless Administration Fund and assisting them under our Liquidator Assistance Program.