Former Firepower boss Tim Johnston failed to turn up to court earlier this week for a hearing to decide whether would be allowed his passport back. He claims he is broke despite Firepower shares being sold for tens of millions of dollars and recently selling his Gold Coast mansion for about $3 million.
Lawyers acting for disgraced Firepower boss Tim Johnston have severed ties with the one-time high flyer because he has not been paying his bills, reports The Sunday Times in Perth. The parting comes just days before the Australian Securities and Investments Commission will fight to continue an order banning the 55-year-old from leaving the country.
When are people going to learn?
A private company owned by Perth property tycoon Warren Anderson has been been found to have breached the Corporations Act in its offering of shares in discredited fuel pill company Firepower, the Federal Court has found.
Meanwhile Tim Johnston will have to wait until a later date to find out whether he will be banned from ever managing an Australian company.
Can anyone believe how long this fall out from the Firepower fiasco is taking? And, remember, there are no criminal charges against Johnston despite the tens of millions of dollars that has gone missing.
Oh, by the way, I have a new job. More on that when I update this site.
The civil case against those who sold tens of millions of dollars worth of worthless Firepower shares continues in the Federal Court in Perth, with Tim Johnston making an appearance yesterday via video link. He originally refused to appear at all.
It is as if nobody can believe what happened and they want to hear all about it all over again.
No wonder when it has been clear all along that Firepower would not have been possible without the help and support of the previous Federal Government and your taxpayer-funded agencies.
Firepower boss Tim Johnston has declined to appear at a civil trial in Perth where he and other parties are accused of raising funds from investors in breach of the Corporations Act, according to the WA Business News website.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleges Johnston and companies associated with Firepower Holdings Group Ltd offered shares for sale without providing disclosure documents. In the Federal Court in Perth, ASIC lawyer Michael Pearce said Mr Johnston, now living in Queensland, had sent an email explaining he did not propose to turn up in court.
Mr Pearce told Justice John Gilmour he didn’t think anyone expected Mr Johnston to appear, “judging by his past conduct”, but an option was to subpoena him.
Turns out it was the West Australian that broke that story on the lawsuit. Lots more juicy detail too, including a few more celebrity victims of Firepower. Where will it end?
The news from PerthNow website is that some individuals involved in Firepower will soon face a multi-million dollar lawsuit. According to the report, the liquidator Bryan Hughes said he has been helping litigation funder IMF Australia and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission with details surrounding the collapse of Tim Johnston’s failed enterprise.
It is understood IMF is heading a small group of investors who are trying to claw back about $40 million of the $100 million lost in the scam. The claim could target Mr Johnston, former WA Police Minister Gordon Hill and businessman Warren Anderson, according to the report.
My only comment is that this news seems rather old, given that the $40 million worth of lawsuits have been underway for some time. And my understanding is that the lawsuits are targeted mainly at insurance companies rather than individuals.
But it is always good to remind people that here we are in September 2010 … still no arrests … still no criminal prosecutions.
This is despite Mr Hughes’ reported comments about his own liquidator’s report (handed to ASIC months ago): “The report has uncovered a raft of breaches including fraud, theft, and deception, which warrants prosecution.”
“We have highlighted a number of confessed breaches of Australian law. We have highlighted a number of areas of his evidence that support certain criminal and civil action proceedings.”
Only days after Tim Johnston complained that ASIC had ruined his life (eh? … then where are the criminal charges ASIC has been supposedly working on for the last three years?) Johnston’s wife has put her house up for sale. Sandra Johnston, nee Meeks, purchased the house on the Gold Coast for $4.7 million in late 2006 – at the height of the Firepower fraud – and it was there that Johnston famously returned to from England. The house is described as a “majestic 100 square home of absolute indulgence” that “offers every amenity the successful entrepreneur could wish for”.
Word has it that the Johnstons are now keen to downsize and are shopping around for an apartment in Sydney. The Johnstons’ two daughters are rumoured to favour a transfer from their private university in Perth to a more suitable educational establishment in the east.
I was wondering when someone would put two and two together and realise the Firepower connection to the current political debate in Australia. Okay, so it might appear an indirect one at first, but you have got to look at the personalities to understand a bigger picture. Anyway, Michael Evans of the SMH has done the job.
I will join a fellow author from this year’s Walkley Book Award longlist at the Sydney Writers Festival. Matt Peacock’s (‘Killer Company’) tells the story of corporate greed and expose the failure of governments and corporate regulators. We will share the stage – on May 23 – with leading business journalist Helen Dalley.
Firepower has also been shortlisted for the Blake Dawson prize for business literature. The winner of the $30,000 book prize will be announced on 27 April.
I always dreamed that being an author would be a whirlwind of events and festivals but the truth is it is my first public event and the book has been out nearly a year. So come along. You too Tim Johnston.