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19-306MR ASIC asks Federal Court to inquire into conduct of Gold Coast liquidator
On 7 November 2019, as part of the Commonwealth’s Serious Financial Crime Taskforce’s efforts, ASIC filed an application with the Federal Court seeking an inquiry into the conduct of Mr Jason Bettles, a registered liquidator and Partner at Worrells Solvency and Accounting, Gold Coast.
Mr Bettles was the liquidator of the Members Alliance Group of companies from 22 July 2016 until his resignation on 13 July 2017. ASIC has requested the Federal Court inquire into Mr Bettles conduct during his administration of those particular companies as ASIC is concerned Mr Bettles:
- failed to maintain independence;
- did not exercise the degree of care and diligence required of a liquidator; and
- failed to discharge his obligations as a liquidator.
The application is made under section 45-1 of the Insolvency Practice Schedule (Corporations), being Schedule 2 to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
ASIC is a member of the ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce. The Taskforce brings together the knowledge, resources and experience of relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies to identify and address the most serious and complex forms of financial crime.
Since the Taskforce was established on 1 July 2015, more than 1,173 audits have been completed up to and including 30 September 2019. Liabilities have been raised in excess of $909 million, $319 million in cash collected and 6 successful convictions have been handed down.
On 4 March 2020, the Federal Court made orders about the filing of evidence and set the matter down for a further case management hearing on 14 July 2020.
Editor's note 2:
On 27 July 2020, the Federal Court heard an application by the Respondent to strike out ASIC’s Concise Statement and Supplementary Concise Statement. The Federal Court has reserved its decision.
Editor's note 3:
On 28 October 2020, the Federal Court decided to set aside ASIC’s Concise Statement and Supplementary Concise Statement and ordered that ASIC file and serve a Statement of Claim in the proceeding within 28 days.