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Former director banned for engaging in illegal phoenix activity

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Mr Sean Joseph O’Reilly of Hemmant, QLD has been banned from managing companies for four years due to his involvement in three failed companies.

Mr O’Reilly was a former director of:

  • Specialised Workforce Group Pty Ltd ACN 602 805 354 (SWG);
  • Construction Industries Precast Pty Ltd ACN 606 157 788 (CIP); and
  • LK Construction Australia Pty Ltd ACN 157 717 425 (LKC).

All three companies were involved in the building and construction industry.

ASIC found that Mr O’Reilly:

  • failed to exercise his duties as a director with due care and diligence;
  • failed to ensure that SWG and LKC paid their tax debts and workercover premiums;
  • failed to prevent CIP and LKC from incurring debts when they were insolvent;
  • failed to keep complete and accurate written financial records; and
  • engaged in illegal phoenix activity by transferring CIP’s business to another company and continued to operate the business.

The total amount owed by the companies to creditors was in excess of $2.1 million.

In making its decision to disqualify Mr O’Reilly, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by Mr Christopher Cook and Mr Rajendra Khatri of Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants (the Liquidators) who were appointed liquidators of CIP and LKC.  Funding from the Assetless Administration Fund was provided to the Liquidators of CIP to assist in preparing the supplementary report.

Mr O’Reilly is banned until 13 May 2024.

Background

Section 206F of the Corporations Act allows ASIC to disqualify a person from managing corporations for up to 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 alleging misconduct or about the company’s inability to pay more than 50 cents in the dollar to unsecured creditors.

ASIC also 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
  • practicing in the financial services of credit industry.

ASIC is a member of the Phoenix Taskforce, which comprises federal, state and territory government agencies who collaborate to combat illegal phoenix activity. The aim of the Phoenix Taskforce is to provide a whole-of-government approach to identify, disrupt and prosecute those who engage in or facilitate illegal phoenix activity.

Suspected phoenix activity can be reported to the Phoenix Taskforce on 1800 060 062 or online at the ATO website.

More information about ASIC action against illegal phoenix activity is available on ASIC’s website.

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Regulator Information

Abbreviation: ASIC
Jurisdiction: Australia

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