Forum Group to be wound up as Westpac business progresses
As the Westpac v Forum Finance case continues in Federal Court, court documents indicate that the bank has requested the appointment of provisional liquidators from the company’s parent company, Forum Group.
The move follows the sale of service rights to Forum Group customers and the transfer of 70 employees to tech company Our Kloud earlier in July.
In a statement announcing the sale, Forum Group administrator Mackay Goodwin said the sale was made “under very difficult circumstances”, with Our Kloud having previously been mentioned in Westpac’s proceedings against Forum Finance as server technology provider for the enterprise.
The bank’s lawyer told the court of a “family link” between the two companies, the owner of Our Kloud Eric Constantinidis being considered the cousin of the director of Forum Finance, Basile Papadimitriou.
Mackay Goodwin has since been replaced as a Forum Group administrator by McGrathNicol after a successful bid from Westpac.
Court documents also indicate that the case may focus on the relationship of Mr Papadimitriou, whose lawyers told the court he delayed his return to Australia from Greece after testing positive for COVID-19.
A second Forum Finance director, Vincenzo Tesoriero, has been released from his commitment to give Westpac 24 hours’ notice if he considered leaving Australia.
In addition, the court ordered that a series of computer evidence in the case be made available to both parties which was seized by Westpac’s lawyers when the case began.
The bank had revealed in early July to have detected a “significant potential fraud” relating to a portfolio of equipment rentals with customers of the bank arranged by Forum Finance, and had taken legal action against the group.
“The bank has a potential exposure of around $ 200 million after tax, with the extent of any loss depending on the outcome of its investigations and ongoing collection actions,” Westpac said at the time.