Friday, 20 June 2014

Federal Court dismisses Fiorentino's CALDB challenge

Pino Fiorentino
PINO Fiorentino is facing cancellation of his liquidator's ticket after Justice Michael Wigney ruled yesterday that the Sydney-based insolvency practitioner had failed to convince the court he was denied procedural fairness by the Companies Auditors Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALDB).

Fiorentino applied to the Federal Court on February 5 this year after CALDB had two days earlier refused his application to adjourn a hearing brought on by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The corporate regulator wants CALDB to cancel Fiorentino's liquidator's registration over his handling of the insolvency of ERB International. Fiorentino has previously rejected ASIC's allegations. (See: Liquidator denies procuring proxies)

CALDB refused Fiorentino's adjournment application on the grounds that it had already adjourned the matter on several occasions since the first scheduled hearing of ASIC's application on October 21, 2013.

Further, Fiorentino wanted the adjournment so he could sue his professional indemnity insurance provider for refusing to fund the legal expenses associated with defending ASIC's application.

CALDB however was unwilling to accept that such an action would be concluded after six months - as was submitted by Fiorentino - or that further adjournments were justified.

"At the end of the day, the timing of hearings before the Board cannot depend on the vicissitudes of a respondent's private funding arrangements," CALDB said.

Page 13 of the Wigney judgement reveals that CALDB "has not yet made a decision in relation to ASIC's substantive application," the hearing of which concluded on February 6, 2014.

Given CALDB's oft-stated commitment to dealing expeditiously with matters brought before it, a decision may not be long in coming now Justice Wigney has published his reasons.

Fiorentino did not respond when contacted by SiN today so we are unable to report his reaction or whether he is considering other avenues of potential appeal. For detailed background see:

Liquidator denies procuring proxies

Insolvency veteran slapped with suspension

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