Provisional liquidators are to be appointed to the group of businesses at the centre of a large-scale fraud against Westpac, after the majority of the group’s staff and clients were transferred to a new owner.
As Westpac’s case against Forum Finance in the Federal Court continues, court documents indicate the bank has applied for the appointment of provisional liquidators to the firm’s parent company Forum Group.
The move follows the sale of servicing rights to Forum Group’s clients, and the transfer of 70 staff, to technology company Our Kloud earlier in July.
In a statement announcing the sale, Forum Group administrator Mackay Goodwin said the sale had been achieved “under highly challenging circumstances”, with Our Kloud having been previously mentioned in Westpac’s proceedings against Forum Finance as a provider of server technology to the firm.
The bank’s lawyer told the court of a “family link” between the two businesses, with Our Kloud owner Eric Constantinidis believed to be the cousin of Forum Finance director Basile Papadimitriou.
Mackay Goodwin has since been replaced as administrator of Forum Group by McGrathNicol after a successful application from Westpac.
Court documents also indicate the case may be turning in to focus on the dealings of Mr Papadimitriou, whose lawyers have told the court he has delayed travelling back to Australia from Greece after testing positive to COVID-19.
A second Forum Finance director, Vincenzo Tesoriero, was released from an undertaking to provide 24 hours’ notice to Westpac if he was planning to leave Australia.
Further, the court has ordered a swathe of computer evidence in the case be made available to both parties that was seized by Westpac’s lawyers when the case commenced.
The bank disclosed early in July that it had detected a “significant potential fraud” relating to a portfolio of equipment leases with the bank’s customers arranged by Forum Finance, and had commenced proceedings against the group.
“The bank has a potential exposure of around $200 million after tax, with the extent of any loss dependent on the outcome of its investigations and recovery actions underway,” Westpac said at the time.
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