Queensland man David John Leigh, 56, will appear at the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court on 2 November to face the fraud charges, which are the result of an ASIC investigation into the liquidation of a South Brisbane property development business.
That business, Neolido Holdings, was wound up in November 2005 at the behest of a court order. Five years later, in October 2010, Mr Leigh was appointed as a co-liquidator of the company in his role as a partner at PPB Advisory – which was taken over by PwC mid this year.
ASIC has accused Mr Leigh of transferring a total of $800,000 from Neolido’s liquidation account, housing funds used to pay creditors, into the bank account of a private company under his control between 25 July and 9 November in 2017.
According to ASIC, Mr Leigh then used the money for personal purposes.
In March this year, ASIC suspended Mr Leigh’s registration as a company liquidator, after he himself fronted the regulator with an application to do so. He agreed to resign from all of his 16 current appointments, which ASIC handed to BDO Business Restructuring.
According to ASIC, the maximum penalty for fraud is a 20-year prison sentence where the value of the fraud is at least $100,000.
The charges come amid calls for liquidators and auditors to face a royal commission of their own.
Professor Janek Ratnatunga of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants recently claimed that current corporate audit controls are inadequate, as demonstrated by the litany of breaches and failures uncovered during the banking royal commission.