Shadow director faces search warrant after ‘fobbing off’ liquidator requests

In the current resolution of Banerjee (Liquidator), within the matter of Eastside Formwork Pty Ltd (in liq) v Stojic [2022] FCA 1315, a liquidator succeeded in acquiring orders for a warrant to search for and seize books and information which had been hid from the liquidator. The warrant was directed on the individual deemed the ‘guiding thoughts and can’ of the corporate in liquidation, who had repeatedly ‘fobbed off’ requests for the manufacturing of all information of the corporate.

Key takeaways

  • Courts will look as to whether there was a persistent sample of non-cooperation and evasion when issuing a warrant for search and seizure.
  • Liquidators ought to contemplate taking steps to compel manufacturing the place blatantly incomplete information point out the existence of additional information required for manufacturing.
  • Failing to make a significant try to help liquidators of their requests won’t be taken kindly by the courts.

The Federal Court just lately handed down its resolution in Banerjee (Liquidator), within the matter of Eastside Formwork Pty Ltd (in liq) v Stojic[2022] FCA 1315. The Court authorised Eastside Formwork Pty Ltd’s liquidator (the Liquidator) to search for and seize all books and information of the corporate in liquidation from the second defendant, Mr Stojic.

The Court needed to be glad that it was applicable to problem a warrant for search and seizure beneath part 530C(2) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act). This required consideration as as to whether Mr Stojic had hid or eliminated property of Eastside Formwork Pty Ltd (the Company) such that the Liquidator was prevented from or delayed in taking custody of that property.

In this case, the Court accepted the Liquidator’s argument that Mr Stojic had tried to ‘fob off’ requests for entry to the Company’s books and information. Justice Halley was glad that this evidenced a “persistent sample of non-cooperation and evasion” corresponding to to justify the warrant sought.

Background and underlying continuing

The software for a warrant of search and seizure was introduced by the Liquidator of Eastside Formwork Pty Ltd (In Liquidation). The Company was ostensibly run by the third defendant, Mr Zaidan, who had been its sole director and secretary. The Liquidator, nonetheless, thought-about Mr Zaidan to be a ‘straw director’ who primarily took directions from the second defendant, Mr Stojic.

Mrs Stojic, Mr Stojic’s spouse, was the only director of Eastside Holdings and Buildquip, which had each allegedly acquired money from the Company previous to it being positioned in liquidation and had been considered half of a bigger scheme being run by the Company.

In October 2020, the Liquidator (then administrator) had issued notices requiring Mr Stojic and Mr Zaidan to supply all books and information of the Company of their possession. In response, Mr Stojic had claimed that receivers, then appointed to the Company, had possession of the related paperwork.

The Liquidator later issued notices to Mrs Stojic in her capability as director of Buildquip, to ship all books and information of the Company in her possession. Solicitors for Mrs Stojic additionally claimed that the requests couldn’t be glad.

Proceedings had been introduced by the Liquidator in opposition to Mr Zaidan, Mr Stojic and Mrs Stojic in March 2021, alleging that every one three events had breached statutory duties beneath the Act and that funds made by the Company to Eastside Holdings, Buildquip and Mr Stojic had been voidable transactions beneath part 588FE of the Act, on the idea that they had been related-party transactions, creditor-defeating transactions or, in respect of Mr Stojic, that he failed to stop bancrupt buying and selling.

Liquidator seeks warrant

Following an software from the Liquidator to amend his Statement of Claim within the continuing, Mrs Stojic filed an affidavit in September 2022 exhibiting plenty of paperwork which contained emails despatched to or from the Company’s electronic mail server. These emails had not been produced by any of the events in response to the unique notices.

After the Liquidator wrote to Mr Stojic and Mrs Stojic in search of manufacturing of all emails forming a part of the information of the Company, Mrs Stojic’s legal professionals claimed that their consumer didn’t have entry to the e-mail server of the Company.

The Liquidator sought a warrant beneath part 530C of the Act for search and seizure of all books and information of the Company, having been placed on discover that the unique manufacturing of documentation by Mr Stojic and Mrs Stojic was not complete.


The Court ordered the District Registrar to problem the warrant sought beneath part 530C of the Act, directed at Mr Stojic because the second defendant. The Court was glad that Mr Stojic had hid books and information of the Company on sure premises, and authorised the Liquidator to enter the premises to search for and seize these information.

The Court additionally issued suppression orders and submitting necessities to make sure the warrant may very well be executed with out discover to the defendants.

Reasoning of the Court

The Court adopted present authority {that a} “persistent sample of non-cooperation and evasion” ought to justify the granting of a warrant.

The Court started by accepting Mr Stojic because the ‘guiding thoughts and can’ of the Company to justify directing the warrant at him. Attention then turned on Mr Stojic’s persistent failure to supply the paperwork requested within the notices he acquired. His declare that every one books and information had been offered to the receiver was deemed “implausible”.

The affirmation that there have been further paperwork to be produced, evidenced by Mrs Stojic’s affidavit and the exhibited emails, additional justified the orders.


Notices issued by liquidators for the manufacturing of books and information should be complied with correctly, with out concealing or eradicating documentation which is inconvenient or revealing. Failing to take action could persuade a courtroom that it’s applicable to take additional, extra intrusive motion within the type of a warrant for search and seizure.

Communications between liquidators and people individuals topic to notices (in addition to their solicitors) could function proof of a sample of cooperation or non-cooperation.

This resolution is a well timed reminder to insolvency practitioners of the avenues out there to beat non-cooperation by administrators and others concerned within the administration of an organization and the thresholds to be met in such circumstances.

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