ASIC has disqualified Mr Alfred John Holmes, of Hawthorn, Victoria, from managing corporations for the maximum period of five years due to his involvement in the failure of three companies.
Between May 1971 and February 2018 Mr Holmes was the director of three companies:
- Hygrade Cutting Formes Co. Pty Ltd ACN 004 880 988 (HCF);
- Laser Dies Australasia Pty Ltd ACN 090 857 524 (Laser Dies); and
- Hygrade Group Pty Ltd ACN 607 402 782 (Hygrade Group)
All of the companies were involved in the laser and water-cutting industry.
In making its decision, ASIC found that Mr Holmes:
- Lodged false documents with ASIC that appointed individuals as directors of HCF without their consent in an attempt to avoid the personal liability associated with the company’s significant superannuation and taxation debts while he continued to manage the company without being recorded as a director on the corporate register;
- Gained an advantage for himself or related entities by authorising a backdated loan agreement to make HCF liable for his own personal debt;
- Failed to take all reasonable steps to secure compliance by HCF with its obligation to keep written financial records; and
- Failed to comply with HCF’s statutory obligations to lodge necessary documents and pay Superannuation Guarantee Charge on behalf of its employees.
At the time of ASIC’s decision, the three companies owed a combined total of $6,650,938 to creditors, including $1,452,678 to the Australian Taxation Office.
In disqualifying Mr Holmes, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by HCF’s liquidator, David Vasudevan of Pitcher Partners. ASIC assisted Mr Vasudevan to prepare their reports by providing funding from the Assetless Administration Fund.
Mr Holmes is disqualified from managing corporations until 25 October 2027.
Mr Holmes 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 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.