The businesses at the centre of a $200 million alleged fraud against Westpac have been sold to a technology company owned by a man believed to be one of the alleged fraudsters’ cousins.
In a statement, Forum Group administrators Mackay Goodwin said the group of businesses had been sold “under highly challenging circumstances” to Our Kloud, “an established innovative technology solutions provider serving small and large enterprises across Australia and New Zealand”, the administrator said.
Our Kloud has been mentioned in Westpac’s proceedings against liquidated Forum Group subsidiary Forum Finance as a provider of server technology to the firm, with the bank’s lawyer, Jeremey Giles, having noted Westpac’s concerns at the group’s delay in providing crucial information from Forum Finance’s computers.
Mr Giles told the Federal Court there was a “family link” between the two businesses and that Our Kloud’s sole shareholder and owner Eric Constantinidis “appears to be Mr Papas’ cousin”.
Forum Finance director Basile Papadimitriou, otherwise known as Bill Papas, had his assets frozen by the court early in Westpac’s proceedings against the group, as the bank disclosed it had detected “a significant potential fraud” of around $200 million on the part of Forum Finance.
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.
Mackay Goodwin said the sale of the remaining Forum Group businesses to Our Kloud was “a fantastic outcome”, with 72 staff to be retained out of the original 200 employed by the group of businesses.
“We are pleased and relieved to have been able to preserve the business and ultimately sell under highly challenging circumstances,” Mackay Goodwin chief executive Dominic Calabretta said.
“Among the obstacles we faced were having no access to funds due to freezing orders at the time of our appointment, as well as facing numerous competing creditor claims against the business. All the while, we continued to trade the business and conduct the sale, while dealing with strict COVID lockdown conditions.”
Mr Constantinidis said the acquisition of the businesses provided “an amazing opportunity for the expansion of Our Kloud’s footprint in the Australian managed technology space”.
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