Lawyer denies hiding creditor assets
In just 18 days following the collapse of Paulding Constructions, lawyer John Voitin and insolvency practitioner Leonard Milner billed the failed home building company more than $180,000, a court heard.
Mr Voitin, a solicitor who in separate proceedings has been accused of frauds worth millions of dollars (he has yet to respond to those allegations), told the Victorian Supreme Court he denied any involvement in hiding Paulding Constructions' assets from the company's creditors.
Associate Justice Jamie Wood heard that Mr Voitin gave Paulding managing director John Paulding a backdated loan agreement that, when signed, had the effect of putting off for four years the repayment of a $2 million loan Paulding Constructions made to another of Mr Paulding's companies, Port Phillip Property Group.
Mr Voitin was answering questions on Tuesday as part of a liquidators' examination, funded by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission into the collapse of Paulding Constructions.
Leslie Glick, QC, counsel for the liquidators, Pitcher Partners, told the court there was evidence of phoenix activity, where the assets of a failing company are used without payment by a new company controlled by the same people, leaving creditors unpaid.
"The people instructing this liquidation want to know whether this solicitor has been involved in, or attempted to be involved in, this phoenix activity," Mr Glick said.
Mr Voitin said he could not recall what happened to a crucial file that disappeared following Paulding Constructions' collapse in late 2009 - although at a previous hearing he said it was probably lost when it fell from his car.