By Business editor Peter Ryan
A former senior executive of the Hastie Group has fled the United Arab Emirates fearing he was about to be arrested for bouncing cheques.
As AM reported last week, a number of post-dated cheques were issued by Hastie in the months and weeks before the company collapsed in May.
It's been confirmed that at one cheque has been dishonoured which opens the likelihood of serious prison time for Hastie's former regional chief executive Gavin Appleby.
Mr Appleby, whose signature appears on the cheques, has fled the UAE with his wife and family to the safety of Norway fearing a maximum of three years prison for each bad cheque.
The cheques - written before Mr Appleby resigned from Hastie in January - were to cover salaries, food and accommodation for around a thousand foreign labourers employer by Hastie in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Four remaining Hastie managers have used their own funds to cover the labourers' costs as they negotiate new work and full termination entitlements as required under UAE law.
One manager, Darren Hunt, is urging the company's Australian-based administrators to help telling AM last they needed to "get their arses over here".
Mr Hunt says the administrators, PPB Advisory, have rejected offers of assistance to sell assets and to recover outstanding debts.
However, administrators say it is not possible to help UAE staff who are not covered for entitlements under the safety net that exists in Australia.
Craig Crosbie of PPB Advisory told AM last week that Hasrie UAE staff were yet to provide necessary information on assets that could be liquidated.
Hastie's UAE bank accounts are empty and unable to cover cheques after A$3 million was transfered from Dubai to Sydney just days before the company was placed in administration.