Skip to main content Skip to search

Archives for IN THE MEDIA

Can a Wind-Up Notice be Revoked?

Can a Wind-Up Notice be Revoked?

A wind up notice is a notice served by creditors, usually the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), to a company that has not been able to pay its debts. When a business receives a wind-up notice, under section 459E of the Corporations Act, they must appear in court with creditors to begin the proceedings to wind up the company and repay the outstanding debt owed.

Challenging a Wind-Up Notice

A business may successfully challenge a wind-up notice by:

Filing evidence of solvency

You can challenge the notice under section 465C of the Corporations Act by filing evidence of solvency. Wind up notices are served after a statutory demand and you have not paid the required debt within 21 days. As a result, the court and your creditors will assume your company is insolvent. If you are able to demonstrate otherwise, you may be able to oppose the notice. You may also need to provide evidence of why you did not comply with the statutory demand. The type of evidence you need will vary and includes information on your business’s financial position and liquidity.

Showing that creditors are more likely to be paid if the company is not wound up

You may potentially be able to convince the court that your business can repay its debts if the winding-up notice was challenged. Evidence will need to be provided that your business can trade successfully so that your debts can be repaid.

Showing that creditors oppose your business being wound up

On the day of the hearing, the court will take your creditors’ opinions into consideration, as well as other stakeholders. For example, the court may not make a winding-up order if it would negatively impact the business’s unsecured creditors.

Notify if there is a voluntary liquidation in progress

The court generally sees no difference between a court-ordered winding up or members’ voluntary liquidation. Hence, if a voluntary liquidation is in progress, the court will not order the company to be wound up.

If you successfully oppose your wind-up notice, the court will rule to not wind-up your business when the court date arrives.

If you would like more information on company liquidations or how to restructure your business to reduce financial stress then please contact CRS Insolvency Services. Our consultants are all highly trained in corporate insolvency assignments. We will provide professional advice to help you make the best decision for your company while avoiding personal liabilities. Contact CRS Insolvency Services on 1800 210 073 for 24/7 free expert advice now.

Read more

Anthony Warner, a trustee of Craig Gore

The following article was published in the Australian Financial Review. Anthony Warner of CRS Insolvency Services was interviewed by the Australian Financial Review for his role as a trustee of Craig Gore.

No sanctuary for disgraced developer Craig Gore

From fast cars, helicopters and high-risk developments to a guilty verdict and the prospect of up to 12 years in jail.
Where did it all go wrong for the former rich lister?

Top of the heap: In his boom days Craig Gore worked on projects across the country. His operations also included financial services, racing, even wine exports.

Top of the heap: In his boom days Craig Gore worked on projects across the country. His operations also included financial services, racing, even wine exports. Rob Homer

Craig Gore, the cocky developer who once owned his own race-car team, sat stone-faced in the defendant’s dock on Tuesday as he was found guilty of defrauding investors. Six times.
Gone was the grin, the navy fedora and aviator sunglasses Gore had sported when approaching the trial. There was no more scribbling of notes with a flashy gold pen or furious tapping on the keyboard in his court defence. Instead, the Gold Coast entrepreneur, whose fortune was valued at $189 million in the 2007 Young Rich List, remained impassive.
Earlier, though, his guard slipped, as he appeared anxious sitting with lawyers outside the Brisbane District Court. That’s not surprising. Gore is facing serious jail time. And it’s quite a comedown for someone who was once so rich he sported Cartier watches and aggravated his local council by flying his private helicopter too often.
Mike Gore, a failed “white shoe brigade” developer in Queensland.

Mike Gore, a failed “white shoe brigade” developer in Queensland.

But Gore has always attracted controversy. His father Mike was a failed “white shoe brigade” developer (a moniker for aggressive 1980s Queensland businessmen). Craig also faced financial difficulties including reaching one of Australia’s biggest personal insolvency deals, agreeing in 2010 to pay just $3.3 million of a $495 million debt.
Eight years later, Gore was on trial for investor fraud after tapping Australians, who had their life savings in self-managed superannuation funds. Gore pushed those investors towards high-interest, short-term debentures or property while working at a financial advisory outfit. While he promised products that were “capital guaranteed”, the company ultimately did not repay their money.
Six of 12 charges stuck this week; Gore was found guilty of defrauding $345,000 knowing the money was unlikely to be repaid.
While it sounds like small-fry for Gore, it marks the first criminal conviction for the long-running Australian Securities and Investments Commission target.
Now the question is why a man known for his developer nous has engraved himself into the ranks of corporate scoundrels such as Qintex’s Christopher Skase. Gore complains he’s a victim of ASIC wrongdoing. But, given his potholed corporate record, maybe he just kept making bad choices.

Just north of the neon lights and thumping clubs of the Gold Coast’s “Glitter Strip” is an exclusive development called Sanctuary Cove. Roadside gates there prevent riff-raff from entering.
Whitney Houston performing at Sanctuary Cove in 1988. Elizabeth Dobbie

Whitney Houston performing at Sanctuary Cove in 1988. Elizabeth Dobbie

Sanctuary Cove’s developer was Gore’s father Mike, a bull-shaped man so coarse that Craig once recounted his dad setting fire with a lighter to a fellow passenger’s hair on a Hong Kong flight. “Just having a bit of fun with this bloke’s hairstyle,” Mike reportedly told his son.
The elder Gore launched Sanctuary Cove in the “Ultimate Event” in 1988 featuring singers Frank Sinatra and Whitney Houston. Mike’s fortunes did not rise, however, and in 1992 he moved to Canada owing $25 million. A heart attack killed him in 1994.

Craig, born in 1967, grew up with his mother in a housing commission estate in Sydney’s Villawood as his parents had divorced while young. He later moved north to live with his old man, and blamed his first bankruptcy in 1992 on his father’s financial disasters.
It took seven years before the younger Gore extracted himself from that bankruptcy – a later creditors report, obtained by AFR Weekend, said it had been extended beyond the typical three years with Gore engaging “in misleading conduct where the amount exceeds $3000”. He ultimately paid 11¢ in the dollar to creditors owed $300,000.
Craig Gore in the high times, when he was a V8 race team owner. Robert Rough

Craig Gore in the high times, when he was a V8 race team owner. Robert Rough

Yet Gore was back by 2002 building a residential development, Aurora, next to his father’s Sanctuary Cove. Aurora was controversially marketed to adults with body corporate rules banning children being unsupervised in public areas. A chunk was offloaded to Australand in 2003, with his Atkinson Gore Group reaping a reported $90 million profit.
Gore worked on projects across the country from Victoria to North Queensland. Business, for a brief time, was good. His operations included financial services, racing, even wine exports.

With his business empire expanding, Gore picked up Rich Lister trinkets: his father’s 70-foot luxury cruiser Prego, a Bombardier/Challenger 604 aircraft, V8 Supercars and an EC130 jet helicopter. In 2006, the council complained his helicopter was flying four times a day when not even allowed daily flights. “We’ve got a bunch of belligerent idiots debating a helipad rather than dealing with infrastructure and employment,” Gore complained then.

One person who discussed business briefly with Gore remembers his office having inspirational historical quotes on display and being put off by the developer’s arrogance. It was before the global financial crisis, when property developers could easily tap high-priced debt, and such entrepreneurs loved risk, says the person.
Another who worked with Gore describes him as someone who “does nothing but work”. Gore can co-ordinate developments and excels at sales. “He can put the charm on,” the person tells AFR Weekend.
In 2010 Gore owed UK billionaire Michael Ashcroft’s Mayfair $138 million. Reuters

In 2010 Gore owed UK billionaire Michael Ashcroft’s Mayfair $138 million. Reuters

But something manipulative lurked.
“He’s just got this streak in him where he f–ks everyone over,” the person says.
Bombing out
The GFC felled many property-exposed entrepreneurs. Gore’s reign ended when second-tier lender City Pacific despatched receivers on Atkinson Gore Group entities in 2009 over $145 million. Gore retaliated with a $300 million damages claim.
Some potential assistance came when UK billionaire Michael Ashcroft’s investment arm acquired ventures from Gore-associated businesses. It was not enough and Gore brokered an extraordinary debt restructuring deal in 2010.

The controlling trustee estimated Gore had $471,000 in assets for unsecured creditors, including a Cartier Sports watch worth $2400 and a bust of Renoir valued at £30,000. But Gore owed $495 million, mostly in personal guarantees. Creditors included American Express seeking $17 million; Bank of Queensland $1.9 million; and Lord Ashcroft’s Mayfair $138 million.

Gore offered to repay a piddling $3.3 million over three years plus issue 30 per cent of a personal trust’s units. A report by a later trustee, Anthony Warner of CRS Insolvency Services, pointed out Gore was late on numerous repayment deadlines. Creditors dissolved the deal and Gore went bankrupt in 2012.
‘Gold mine’
Gore is not popular with regular bankers. So he has fossicked in another deepening cash stream: SMSFs. The Australian Taxation Office noted 197,000 SMSFs held $55 billion in 1999, which jumped to 600,000 holding $748 billion by June 2019.
According to a Federal Court civil case brought by ASIC against Gore and other finance businesses, the entrepreneur met a man in 2011 whose business was establishing 10 SMSFs a week. Gore allegedly said the businessman was “not aware of the ‘gold mine’ on which he was sitting”.
The SMSFs were involved in investing in distressed properties. But the court found they became entangled in schemes that sent money Gore used himself; he even was the “driving force” to establish companies in the British Virgin Islands to avoid Australian regulations.
Scott and Helen Bruce's investments suffered at the hands of Gore. The entrepreneur was

Scott and Helen Bruce’s investments suffered at the hands of Gore. The entrepreneur was “very persuasive”. Attila Csaszar

ASIC alleged SMSF investors lost almost $4.5 million in the fallout.
“It must … have been obvious to [Gore] that most of the clientele [were] small investors who did not on any view satisfy the description of ‘sophisticated investors,’ ” Justice Richard White ruled in 2015.
“The consequences of Mr Gore’s conduct are serious as superannuation savings of a large number of SMSF investors, including those with limited savings, appear to have been wholly lost.”
Gore was permanently banned from financial services, after being found to have breached Corporations Act regulations about issuing securities without a disclosure document. ASIC argued: “There is a very real risk that left unrestrained, Mr Gore will engage in like activity in the future, especially as there was no recognition by him of the wrongfulness of his conduct”.
But it was too late for investors in this latest criminal matter. They too were SMSFs, dealing since 2013 with Arion, a financial services firm overlooking the peaceful Southport broadwater. Investors were people such as Scott Bruce, a then Virgin Australia pilot, who with his wife Helen invested in debentures – high-interest, short-term loans. They had spoken with “Craig” at Arion.
“We were getting frustrated that our SMSF wasn’t achieving anything,” Bruce told court. “This seemed like a reasonably safe, short-to-medium term investment. Craig … was very persuasive. He made you think that you could trust the information.”
Gore arrives at court. Attila Csaszar

Gore arrives at court. Attila Csaszar

One investment they made was for $25,000 at a 6.25 per cent interest rate to be repaid in 120 days. But their money was not returned and Craig uncontactable.
Ultimately a substantial portion of the Bruce family’s superannuation was ensnared – enough that they had to change retirement strategy. “This caused many sleepless nights, arguments with my spouse and stressful life-changing decisions,” Bruce tells AFR Weekend.
Other investors were similarly deceived. One recalled Gore telling him Arion was a “large international company [with] millions of dollars in funds”, a spiel the court ruled “deliberately false”. An Arion director, surprised that Gore was telling investors they could earn 8.5 per cent returns, recalled the entrepreneur saying: “That was the only way I could get people to invest”.
Most investors got nothing back from Arion – but the court heard some victims had cash returned years later by ASX-listed IOOF Holdings, because its associated entity My Adviser had let Arion be a licensed representative.
The trial
During the trial, Gore was like a focused professional, taking notes in proceedings and politely asking security for tissues. He wore a wedding band; his wife is in her native Sweden with their two children. (He also has two children from an earlier marriage).
The image of a well-behaved Gore contrasted with coarse demeanour at work, according to former colleagues, and the rough text messages displayed in court, such as when he complained to a bookkeeper about pay not arriving: “You should have told me … I have spent that f–king money already.”
Prosecutor Michael Copley QC outlayed evidence alleging Gore knew of Arion’s precarious finances and had engaged in dishonest conduct because he raised money despite knowing investor cash was unlikely to return.
Gore, who never gave evidence but declared his innocence, hired barristers Mark McCarthy and Tony Glynn QC. One defence argument was the debentures were merely agreements to repay money and Arion could spend the proceeds however it saw fit. Another explanation was Arion was projected to bring in profits, so Gore could not be dishonest in relying on those assumptions.
Justice Michael Byrne, overseeing a rare jury-free trial, was unconvinced.
Confident yet angry

Byrne wrote Gore knew “there was no real prospect [Arion companies] had the capacity to repay … the money”. A sentence is due next month with the maximum jail term 12 years under Queensland’s then Criminal Code.

Gore, first arrested in 2017, has not seen his family since February last year. While on bail he worked as a consultant in ventures from a funeral company to a Gold Coast property development, along with vodka, spring water and disposable batteries projects. He’s long railed against ASIC, accusing the regulator and media on his blog of “intentionally” distorting facts.

Twice Gore agreed to interviews with AFR Weekend before the verdict. He sounded polite, reasonably confident yet angry over the phone. He cancelled both meetings.

In the minutes after the verdict, Gore murmured to lawyers before guards escorted him to underground cells. Given his track record, maybe he’s planning another comeback.

Read more

Dick Smith Will Shut All Its Doors by April 30th

An iconic Australian brand, Dick Smith, is set to close the doors of its 363 stores across Australia and New Zealand.

With four core brands: Dick Smith, Electronics powered by Dick Smith, Move, and Move by Dick Smith, the brand had over 3300 employees and annual sales of $1.3 billion. After being placed into receivership on 4 January following voluntary administration, the sale of the physical operations of Dick Smith failed to produce a viable buyer.

However, the brand will perpetuate digitally as online retailer,, bought Dick Smith’s online retail business. is set to take over the online operations from 1 June 2016.

Founder and CEO of, Ruslan Kogan, stated, “Dick Smith is an iconic Australian brand and we’re thrilled to be able to keep it alive, as well as Aussie owned and run. I remember as a kid always visiting Dick Smith to look for parts to upgrade my computer. There is a strong history of passion in the Dick Smith community for how technology can improve our lives, and we look forward to helping making it more affordable and accessible for all.”

Currently, the Dick Smith receiver, Ferrier Hodgson, is said to be talking with ASIC regarding the rapid failure of the company.

The Dick Smith CEO, Nick Abboud, had previously stated, in only August last year, that the full year net profit for 2015-16 would be increased to between $45 million and $48 million.

According to reports, ASIC is also investigating.

In relation to current Dick Smith employees, some staff will be relocated to nearby stores while others will be made redundant. However, employee entitlements are expected to be paid in full as they are prioritised over secured credit claims.

Receiver James Stewart says, “We would like to thank the Dick Smith employees for their support during the controlled closure process,”.

“This is a difficult and uncertain time for them and we have really appreciated their commitment.”

Read more

Rene Rivkin fortunes are lost forever

THE global hunt for stockbroker Rene Rivkin’s millions is over, with his $39 million bankrupt estate being wound up after a six-year search that has included investigations in Australia, Jersey, London and Switzerland.

But the mystery of Rivkin’s Swiss bank accounts may never be resolved, with The Australian able to reveal that close to $11m left Rivkin’s Swiss bank accounts and was unable to be traced.

Swiss authorities recently refused a bid to force a bank to divulge what happened to the money and the Australian Taxation Office has decided not to fund further court battles in Switzerland.

Rivkin committed suicide in May 2005 and his estate was placed into bankruptcy with debts of $39m in November 2006, with the tax office the largest creditor, claiming $29m. This was later reduced to $18m.

More than $6m has been recovered by trustee Anthony Warner, with the final dividend reduced to about $3m because of the costs generated by the saga.

When Mr Warner, a partner at CRS Insolvency Services, was appointed trustee of the estate, he set about uncovering and deciphering Rivkin’s complicated dealings, and freezing bank accounts when he found money.

The fleet of luxury cars had long gone and there were no details about Swiss bank accounts in the bankruptcy documents lodged with Insolvency Trustee Services Australia.

“We pretty quickly started making investigations overseas,” he told The Australian.

“The first positive lead we had ultimately led us to Jersey, which is where we found the $3m in Thameslink.”

Thameslink was a company that owned Rivkin’s boat, DaJoShaDiTa, named by combining the first letters of his five children’s names. Rivkin maintained the boat was a rental, owned by an unrelated offshore company – Thameslink.

Warner had to get the bankruptcy registered in Jersey and then go to court to recoup its assets.

“The court gave us a freezing order over assets of Thameslink and the controller in Jersey fully co-operated with us and confirmed Rivkin was the beneficial owner,” he said.

“Thameslink was in effect Rivkin’s entity that he had tried to conceal”.

The boat had been sold, but the $3m in proceeds were transferred back to Australia.

A financial settlement with Rivkin’s widow Gayle came early when she agreed to pay $3m to help pay his tax bill.

Rivkin’s Swiss bank accounts were uncovered when The Australian Financial Review reported that Rivkin, Trevor Kennedy and Graham Richardson were the owners of a $26m shareholding in Offset Alpine. The printing company enjoyed an insurance windfall when a fire swept through its Sydney plant. Mr Richardson and Mr Kennedy denied owning the accounts and both later settled claims with the tax office.

Rivkin’s Swiss bank accounts at Bank Leumi Le-Israel were held through “Scottish partnerships”. Two of the accounts were known as World and Laira. Mr Warner found one account held $20,000, the other nothing. Mr Warner discovered transactions where millions of dollars had left the accounts – but it was unclear who had authorised them. Swiss authorities had previously uncovered close to $2.8m of unauthorised transactions from Rivkin’s accounts. Bank Leumi would not help uncover what happened to that money or a further $7.9m Mr Warner wanted to trace, and he was forced to take court action in Switzerland.

The preliminary proceedings were settled recently on a confidential basis, and despite Mr Warner holding a power of attorney over the accounts the Swiss were reluctant to help.

“We can say that we ran into problems and to continue the legal proceedings was going to cost another $1m,” he said.

“They tried to argue that Rene Rivkin must have been aware of these unauthorised transactions and did nothing about it.

“We tried to overcome this by saying Rivkin had commissioned forensic accounting reports into these transactions, and I guess his inquiries were continuing when he took his life.

“We were able to take up and finish off those forensic accounting reports with the same auditor, but the reason we couldn’t take this through the final procedure was due to lack of funding.”

The tax office and the Rivkin family had funded the preliminary hearing. But, faced with an uncertain outcome, high legal costs and years more before the courts, they were reluctant to fund it further, he said.

A sale of Rivkin’s watches, including a Hewlett Packard, yielded more than $200,000.

Gayle and son Damien Rivkin declined to comment.

Read more