The Federal Court has dismissed ASIC’s case against Mr Jason Bettles, a registered liquidator and Partner at Worrells Solvency and Accounting.
Mr Bettles was the liquidator of the Members Alliance Group of companies from 22 July 2016 until his resignation on 13 July 2017. In November 2019, ASIC, as part of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT), filed an application requesting a court inquiry into Mr Bettles’ conduct. This inquiry followed concerns Mr Bettles failed to discharge his obligations as a liquidator, and failed to act independently and with a degree of care and diligence required of a liquidator, leading to the improper transfer of Members Alliance Group assets (19-306MR).
Following an eight-day trial, the Court found that ASIC did not make its case that Mr Bettles:
was involved in the development and implementation of a complex strategy to transfer assets and divert income streams from various members of the Members Alliance Group to the detriment of creditors,
contravened his duties as an officer of a company, and
demonstrated egregious departure from the standards of propriety, independence, and care and diligence required of a registered liquidator.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘ASIC took on this case as part of our work with the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce. Taking action against suspected phoenixing remains a key priority of the Taskforce and we will carefully review the judgment.’
ASIC has 28 days to lodge an appeal with the Full Federal Court.