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‘Shadow director’ banned for $17m crash of tax advisory companies


Philip Whiteman was involved with five Melbourne accounting and legal operations that collapsed in 2017.

By Philip King 9 minute read

ASIC has banned a Victorian man who acted as a “shadow director” of five tax and legal advisory companies that collapsed owing $17 million.

Philip Whiteman of Mount Dandenong, an undischarged bankrupt, copped the maximum five-year disqualification for taking the position of a director despite not being registered as one, ASIC said.

He was involved with five companies offering tax, accounting, pre-insolvency and legal advice operating in the Melbourne suburbs of Cremorne and Prahran from 2010-17.

The companies – A&S Services Australia, Bolton & Swan, ACN 147 341 991, Armstrong and Shaw, and Ainslie Harding & Wood Solicitors – entered liquidation between February and June 2017 owing a total of $17 million, including about $15.2 million to the ATO.

 ASIC said Mr Whiteman improperly used his position as a director, failed to act in good faith in the best interests of the companies, and failed to exercise care and diligence. In relation to four of the five, ASIC alleged Mr Whiteman failed to keep written financial records and meet statutory ATO lodgement requirements.

Mr Whiteman is currently an undischarged bankrupt and was previously a bankrupt from January 2010 to March 2014.

ASIC’s investigation was assisted by the receipt of a supplementary report by Andrew Yeo of Pitcher Partners (Victoria), the liquidator of A&S, Bolton & Swan, ACN 147 341 991, and Armstrong and Shaw. He received grant funding from the Assetless Administration Fund.

Mr Whiteman is disqualified from managing corporations until 28 August 2028 and has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision by the AAT.

ASIC can disqualify someone from managing corporations for a maximum period of five years if, within a seven-year period, the person was an officer of two or more companies which were wound up and a liquidator reports that the companies were unable to repay debts.


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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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