Groves' $42m property deals under spotlight

The $2.5 million sale of a Nevada mansion to an "acquaintance" and the fate of $1 million from the sale of a villa in the French countryside are among transactions to be probed by Eddy Groves's trustee in bankruptcy.

The $2.5 million sale of a Nevada mansion to an "acquaintance" and the fate of $1 million from the sale of a villa in the French countryside are among transactions to be probed by Eddy Groves's trustee in bankruptcy.

The sales are among $42 million worth of Australian and international property deals struck in the past five years by Mr Groves, the founder of failed childcare empire ABC Learning, to be investigated by Mark Robinson and Andrew Scott of PPB Advisory.

Mr Groves and those who benefited from the property deals are also likely to be questioned under oath at a public examination to be conducted by Mr Robinson and Mr Scott.

The trustees will look into $17 million worth of properties sold in Australia, $5 million of properties sold overseas and $20 million sold by a trust associated with Mr Groves.

Mr Groves, who at his peak was estimated to be worth close to $300 million, was declared bankrupt by the Federal Court in Adelaide on January 29 owing $23 million.

BusinessDay believes the trustees plan to investigate the withdrawal of about $1 million from Mr Groves's NAB bank account in June and July 2010.

The withdrawals occurred at about the same time as Mr Groves received proceeds from the sale of the luxurious French property, which featured a tennis court, swimming pool, library and caretaker's house.

Trustees also plan to investigate the sale of Mr Groves's Macdonald Ranch property on the outskirts of Nevada to US company Paigus USA, run by Byron Bay resident Joanne M. Padgett, in July last year for $2.5 million - about the same amount owed on the property's mortgage.

Mr Groves is believed to have told his trustees that Ms Padgett was an "acquaintance".

Investigations are also likely to focus on the transfer of about $8.7 million of Australian property from a Groves family trust, the Commodore Property Trust (No.2), to Mr Groves' wife Viryan Collins-Rubie.