PKF Australia’s Jason Stone and Glen Franklin, who were appointed liquidators of Fleurie Pty Ltd, had previously applied to have Paul Annesley of Bulla, Victoria to appear at a public examination at the Supreme Court of Victoria on 24 February 2017.
The liquidators sought to examine Mr Annesley about his involvement and knowledge about the affairs of the company and believed he was a shadow director of the company.
During the public examination, Mr Annesley allegedly refused to answer questions about the company. Judicial Registrar Julian Hetyey, who oversaw the public examination, warned Mr Annesley that he was required to answer the questions. Despite the warning, Mr Annesley allegedly continued to not answer questions.
Following the public examination, the matter was referred to ASIC for investigation. ASIC supported the liquidator by bringing charges for refusing to answer questions.
Mr Annesley has now appeared in the Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court charged with failing to answer questions, with the matter adjourned to 4 June 2019.
Any person failing to attend or refusing to answer questions without having a reasonable excuse commits a criminal offence carrying a maximum term of two years imprisonment.
Anyone acting as a ‘shadow director’ can be held responsible and accountable to the same duties and liabilities as a director, even if not formally appointed as one.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.