That ruling included a hefty 15-year ban from being an organization director for Mr Lewski and a two-year, three-month ban for Dr Wooldridge. Fellow administrators Kim Jaques and Mark Butler have been every banned for 4 years.
One other director, Peter Clarke – the previous head of Victoria’s state constructing authority Locations Victoria and a Liberal Get together heavyweight – was not banned, however was fined $20,000 as a result of his quick tenure on the board forward of the selections to award Mr Lewski the cost. That call was overturned by the Full Courtroom. ASIC didn’t attraction the Full Courtroom’s choice concerning Mr Clarke.
In 2016, the administrators have been in a position to persuade the Full Courtroom that the judgment needs to be thrown out on the idea that ASIC had filed its case a month late and was due to this fact exterior the six-year statute of limitations.
The Full Courtroom ruling was not solely embarrassing for ASIC however threatened to value the regulator tens of hundreds of thousands in authorized charges after it was ordered to pay the prices of the administrators.
Talking after Thursday’s judgment, ASIC commissioner John Worth stated it had been a “long-running, hard-fought matter”.
“It does present ASIC’s willingness to tackle the large finish of city and tackle huge instances and to litigate them by way of to the Excessive Courtroom if that’s what is required,” he stated.
The Excessive Courtroom overturned the Full Courtroom’s ruling in most components, discovering Mr Lewski, Dr Wooldridge, Mr Butler and Mr Jaques had engaged in misconduct when granting Mr Lewski the itemizing charge cost.
The Excessive Courtroom discovered it “can not ignore the injustice prompted to members by an modification that allows $33 million of their fairness to be paid away with out authority”.
It didn’t permit ASIC’s attraction towards the Full Courtroom choice to throw out a declaration that the administrators additionally breached their duties by knowingly permitting the accountable entity of the Prime Belief, Australian Property Custodians Holdings, to breach its duties to unit holders of Prime.
The matter might be remitted to the Federal Courtroom to reassess the penalties and disqualification intervals for the administrators.
Sarah is a enterprise courts reporter primarily based in Melbourne.