Friday 19 December 2014

Old insolvency guys just go sailing

Max Prentice at the helm of Ticket of Leave
Photo: Beth Morley @ 
WHEN not engineering commercial outcomes from insolvent scenarios, BPS Recovery co-founder Max Prentice can often be found aboard his beloved Beneteau 40.7, Ticket of Leave, carousing, competing and, on more than the odd occasion, winning.

Most recently, Prentice and an unlikely crew stunned the rest of the 39-strong fleet to take two line honours wins and a Division One non-spinnaker victory in the 23rd annual Sydney Beneteau Cup.

With characteristic modesty Prentice said: "We found the courses fair and we blitzed the field", the "we" being Prentice and his crew, none of whom were under 60 years of age and which included Meyer Knight's Jon Meyer on mainsail, who turns 70 on December 30.

"We have a lot of old farts on board, but that worked pretty well," Prentice added as the post-race celebrations kicked off.

What do they say about old age and treachery? Clearly a winning, if malodorous combination.

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Monday 15 December 2014

Liquidators agree to vacate examinations while ATO audits Sarkis Nassif and Holdmark Group

Sarkis Nassif with former
Governor of NSW Marie Bashir
Photo: Holdmark Property Group
PROPERTY developer Sarkis Nassif has succeeded in postponing a grilling in the NSW Supreme Court after reaching agreement with liquidators to vacate a planned public examination.

Consent orders to vacate five days of examinations into the affairs of 82 - 84 Belmore Street Pty Ltd were made last week, despite Justice Ashley Black previously rejecting an application by Nassif and others to have the examination summons stayed or set aside.

Cor Cordis partners Ozem Kassem and Daniel Juratowich allege the company sold properties to related parties at depressed values and neglected to pay sales tax on apartment sales valued at $173 million.

Sarkis Nassif responded to SiN's enquiries through his solicitor Marc Ryckmans of Somerset Ryckmans.

"Mr Nassif completely rejects the claims made by the liquidators," Ryckmans said.

"We note that there are proceedings currently on foot in which my clients have traversed by way of denial each of the allegations raised by the liquidators of 82-84 Belmore Street Pty Ltd (in Liquidation).

"In particular the liquidators have alleged that certain units were transferred to related entities at undervalue. This particular allegation is strenuously rejected and my clients assert that all units were transferred at values determined by independent expert valuers."

The issue of sales tax is pertinent because the Australian Tax Office (ATO) - potentially the only significant creditor of the company apart from the liquidators - is in the middle of an extensive audit of Nassif and his Holdmark Property Group.

"So far as concerns the ATO, Mr Nassif and his group of companies is a substantial developer. Its current advisers are presently working with the Australian Taxation Office and those discussions remain confidential," Ryckmans said.

Initially Kassem and Juratowitch opposed the set aside application, arguing that another opportunity to hold the examinations might not present itself before April 2015 when the three year statute of limitations on challenging transactions on the basis that they may be uncommercial expires.

But a statement from the liquidators' lawyer indicates that compliance with notices to produce documents - combined with an unspecified "commercial settlement" between the liquidators and Nassif - was sufficient for them to back off.