Liquidator on trail of payoffs made by developer
Bankrupt developer Dave Henderson used money from a 2008 Christchurch City Council property buyout deal to pay off a British creditor of his company, Property Ventures, while it was trading while insolvent, the liquidator says.
Yesterday, the High Court in Christchurch granted Property Ventures liquidator Robert Walker's request, ordering British LED equipment supplier Gullwing to return a US$68,500 (NZ$82,880) payment made by Property Ventures in February 2009.
Associate Judge Rob Osborne ruled the payment was a voidable transaction - it was cancelled by his order - because when it was made Property Ventures could not pay its debts and the payment was unfair to other creditors.
Gullwing did not defend the transaction.
Property Ventures is the parent of a web of interconnected companies owned or controlled by Henderson, who was declared bankrupt in November 2010. Henderson could not be contacted yesterday.
Walker said the payment to Gullwing was one of many such payoffs which the company made to "vociferous creditors" likely to wind up Property Ventures. About $2.5 million, in payments large and small, was made to creditors both in New Zealand and abroad and Walker intended to claw back as much as possible.
He would use the money to fund more clawbacks and eventually bring legal action against directors of companies involved in Property Ventures, he said.
"I will be making directors and other people accountable and I almost have enough money to do it."
Walker believes the payments were funded from the controversial August 2008 city council buyup of five inner-city properties owned by Property Venture subsidiaries. The council paid Henderson $17m for the properties.