ASIC has disqualified former restaurateur and director Toufic Chidiac, of Rozelle, NSW, from managing corporations for two years due to his involvement in the failure of numerous companies.
Between September 2017 and October 2019, Mr Chidiac was a director of eight companies which were wound up, each of which owned or operated restaurants at various locations in New South Wales and Queensland:
- Sir Chapel Pty Ltd (ACN 611 143 867);
- Sourdough (Warringah) Pty Ltd (ACN 612 639 264);
- Lioncrest Group Pty Ltd (ACN 612 638 785);
- Pane Vino (Miranda) Pty Ltd (ACN 602 060 177);
- Sourdough (Miranda) Pty Ltd (ACN 602 060 257);
- Sourdough (Hornsby) Pty Ltd (ACN 605 691 389);
- Sir Chapel (Tramsheds) Pty Ltd (ACN 612 660 572); and
- Bootlegger Smokehouse Pty Ltd (ACN 616 965 596).
ASIC found that Mr Chidiac acted improperly and failed to meet his obligations as director when he:
- failed, over an extended period, to participate in the proper management of some of his companies;
- lacked care and diligence in relation to his companies’ financial affairs;
- lacked care and diligence in relation to his companies’ compliance with Australian Taxation Office (ATO) lodgement obligations;
- showed a serious lack of commercial morality after failing to pay debts owed to the ATO following the sale of the business that was operated by Pale Vino; and
- showed a serious lack of commercial morality when he agreed to become a director in name only of Sourdough Warringah to mislead a third party.
At the time of ASIC’s decision, five of the companies, Sourdough (Warringah), Pane Vino, Sourdough (Miranda), Sourdough (Hornsby) and Sir Chapel Tramsheds had accrued debts of approximately $2.9m, including $972,000 owing to the ATO.
In disqualifying Mr Chidiac, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by Sir Chapel’s liquidator, Anthony (Tony) Lane of the firm Beacon Advisory and Sourdough (Warringah’s) liquidator, Bradd Morelli of the firm Jirsch Sutherland. ASIC assisted Mr Lane and Mr Morelli to prepare their reports by providing funding from the Assetless Administration Fund.
Mr Chidiac is disqualified from managing corporations until 29 March 2024.
Mr Chidiac has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Section 206F of the Corporations Act allows ASIC to disqualify a person from managing corporations for a maximum period of five years if, within a seven-year period, the person was an officer of two or more companies, and those companies were wound up and a liquidator provides a report to ASIC about each of the company’s inability to pay its debts.
ASIC maintains a a banned and disqualified persons register that provides information about people who have been disqualified from:
- involvement in the management of a corporation;
- auditing self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs); or
- practising in the financial services or credit industry.