‘Illegal phoenix’ allegation levelled at tour company
The director of a Gold Coast company operating tours to Springbrook National Park and the glow-worm caves on Tamborine Mountain has denied allegations he caused an illegal phoenix when his company went bust owing close to $1 million.
Liquidator Timothy Michael, of Ferrier Hodgson, was appointed to Molendinar-based Scenic Hinterland Day Tours Pty Ltd, which traded as Scenic Day Tour Group, in September last year after court action from the Australian Taxation Office, owed $895,736.
Other creditors include Capital Finance Australia (owed $11,724) and FlexiRent ($96,930).
Mr Michael wrote in a report that it was his opinion SHDT sole director Bernhard Weibel had caused an illegal phoenix of the company when its assets were transferred in April last year to Scenic Hinterland Holdings Pty Ltd, a related company where Mr Weibel is also the sole director.
Mr Weibel and W Weibel, understood to be Mr Weibel's brother Wayne Weibel, also owed the company $76,685 and there was another $563,384 in related party loans likely to be owed by Mr Weibel to the company, according to Mr Michael's report.
The company had no cash in the bank and just $76.19 in receipts from a Transurban account credit when it failed in March last year.
The business continues to trade from the same premises in Molendinar under the name Scenic Day Tour Group, which was registered in 2008, and has moved the former employees of SHDT to SHH.
Mr Weibel denied the claims when contacted by the Bulletin.
"That has nothing to do with us anymore," he said.
"That was a company we no longer have or operate, that was something we just shut down."
Mr Weibel said none of the information in the liquidator's report was correct.
"You need to wait for the current information come through," he said.
"It is all about to be overruled very, very, shortly."
According to a report filed in April, creditors voted in favour of pursuing a litigation funding agreement to recover the related party loans from the Weibels.
Mr Weibel declined to answer further questions from the Bulletin. Mr Michael wrote in his report that Mr Weibel attributed the company's failure to "poor accounting practices" by his previous bookkeeper and "incorrectly reported business activity statements" in FY15 and FY16.
The failure was also blamed on revised tax debts from the ATO and the illness of his wife, Tamara Weibel.
However, Mr Michael said that was not the full extent of the issues.
"In my opinion the company failed principally due to poor keeping of financial records, the company's funds being loaned to the director and related entities and the phoenixing of the company's assets and business to a related entity," Mr Michael wrote.
He said his investigation had been hampered by Mr Weibel not delivering up all financial records.
"The director advised the company had a nil balance sheet with no outstanding loans, assets or liabilities at the time the company ceased trading on 31 March 2018," he wrote.