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Forum Group meeting delayed as debtor numbers soar

By Sarah Kendell
 — 1 minute read

Administrators of the group of businesses at the centre of a $200 million fraud against Westpac moved to postpone an initial meeting as the number of potential creditors involved in the troubled group ballooned.

In a statement, Forum Group administrators Mackay Goodwin said a meeting of creditors scheduled for Tuesday had been pushed back 24 hours as “several additional creditors were discovered, significantly delaying the meeting registration process”.

“The creditors’ meeting, which had 40 creditors pre-registered to attend, attracted around 180 creditors and observers,” Mackay Goodwin said.

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“Late on the evening of 19 July, the administrator received several additional proof of debt documents, each of which will require assessment, and a quantum of votes determined for each for adjudication purposes.

“The administrator needs to ensure that each company has a quorum because a resolution of creditors can only pass when that criterion is met.” 

Mackay Goodwin said it expected to complete assessment of the new creditors within 24 hours.

It noted it was also in the midst of a potential sale of a business within the Forum Group, and a postponement would allow it to progress the process and report back to creditors.

The administrator had previously stated it was undertaking investigations into the “viability for the continued trading of various business units” within the group, which employed 200 staff.

Mackay Goodwin said it had already closed one business in the group and was reviewing acquisition proposals for a further two businesses.

Westpac commenced proceedings in the Federal Court last month against Forum Group subsidiary Forum Finance, and obtained asset freezing orders earlier in July against two of its directors, Basile Papadimitriou and Vincenzo Tesoriero.

Lawyers for Mr Papadimitriou, a prominent member of the business community and former Sydney Olympic Football Club board member, recently told the court he had delayed a trip back to Australia from Greece after testing positive for COVID-19.

Westpac disclosed to the market in early July that it had detected a fraud worth approximately $200 million involving a portfolio of equipment leases with the bank’s customers arranged by Forum Finance, which were referred to Westpac’s institutional bank.

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Forum Group meeting delayed as debtor numbers soar
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