Former Forum director contests liquidators' move to wind up companies

The liquidator is moving to roll up nine entities related to the alleged fraud against Westpac

Former Forum director contests liquidators' move to wind up companies

A director of Forum Group is contesting plans by liquidators to wind up nine of the group’s companies in the ongoing fallout from Forum’s alleged defrauding of Westpac.

Forum and its founder, Bill Papas, have been accused of defrauding Westpac and other banks out of $500 million in loans using forged signatures and phony documents.

Vincent Tesoriero, who helped found Forum Group and was a director of several Forum companies, is contesting claims by liquidator McGrathNicol that he was the beneficiary of funds gained through the alleged fraud, The Australian reported.

Westpac alleged that Tesoriero acquired a sizable property portfolio with defrauded money. An affidavit by Tesoriero showed $60.7 million in property holdings, including 11 petrol stations, 10 residential sites and a cafe, according to The Australian. Tesoriero also testified that a loan of about $10 million is due to him or an entity he is associated with.

“I also believe that there are intercompany/trust loans within the group of which ultimately, I may be a beneficiary,” he said.

McGrathNicol has reportedly written to Tesoriero demanding the return of millions of dollars in funds allegedly gleaned from fraud to finance the purchase of property sites. However, Tesoriero reportedly rejected the demands, according to The Australian.

Read next: Papas’ waterfront home up for sale for $10 million

In response, the liquidator has moved to wind up nine Forum-related companies. Those companies include several investment vehicles for Tesoriero. They also include a petrol station in Victoria worth $900,000, which had a $540,000 mortgage, and a site worth $1.35 million with a mortgage of $810,000, The Australian reported.

The liquidator has also made a claim on a site in Melbourne worth $8 million with a $7 million mortgage from Judo Bank. The company controlling Papas’ former home in Sydney is also in the crosshairs, The Australian reported.