Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ASIC reviewing misconduct allegations in leadup to Hastie collapse

By Business editor Peter Ryan

The corporate watchdog is examining reports into the collapse of the Hastie Group amid allegations of possible misconduct within the failed company.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been handed assessments from Hastie's administrator PPB Advisory and receiver McGrathNicol to determine if the allegations should be investigated.

The ABC understands the misconduct claims relate to one of Hastie's 44 companies, Hastie Services Pty Ltd.

It is understood that while ASIC's deliberations are only in the early stages, the confirmation of misconduct could widen to the entire Hastie Group.

The group collapsed in late May after a $20 million accounting hole prompted the company's banking partners to call in administrators.

An ASIC spokesman said it was standard practice for receivers and administrators to update regulators.

While the collapse initially claimed 2,700 Australian jobs, many workers have since been transferred to Hastie contracts awaiting completion.

However, administrators continue to face problems with about 1,500 Hastie staff in the United Arab Emirates, who are yet to receive their basic entitlements.

The ABC has revealed $3 million was transferred from Hastie's head office in Dubai days before the collapse and that three top executives in the UAE fled the country, fearing imprisonment for bad cheques.

Remaining Hastie staff, including three middle managers, claim they have been abandoned by administrators who have been unable to put a local administrator on the ground.

You can follow Peter Ryan on Twitter @Peter_F_Ryan

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