Is this referral affecting your impartiality? Federal Court backs ASIC in Walton wind-up

By Michael Hughes

In February, we reported on the decision of Justice Davies in the Federal Court of Australia refusing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) application to remove liquidators appointed to two companies, after the voluntary administration had been referred to them by the Mawson Group.

ASIC argued that, given Mawson’s prior involvement in a number of pre-appointment transactions said to amount to Phoenix company activity, and a ‘referral relationship’ they had with the liquidators’ firm, there was a reasonable apprehension of bias sufficient to warrant their removal as liquidators.

ASIC also sought a declaration from the court that the liquidators had breached section 436DA of the act by failing to disclose in their Declaration of Independence, Relevant Relationships and Indemnities (DIRRI) that the pre-administration transactions involving Mawson may need to be investigated by the liquidators…

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