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.
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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.
As if there wasn’t enough colour already, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee has emerged as figure in the Firepower saga. Leonid Tyagachev, a close friend and regular ski companion of the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, was part of a failed attempt to raise money for Firepower in London financial circles in 2008. My sources tell me Mr Tyagachev invested $US1 million ($1.12 million) in Firepower. He declined to comment when pressed by my SMH colleague Jacquelin Magnay.
Jacquelin worked with me on many of the Firepower stories. She is now off to the Daily Telegraph in London to work as their olympics reporter.
I also decided to update readers of the Sydney Morning Herald on the story so far.
THE corporate regulator and liquidator of failed fuel technology company Firepower will begin poring over five days of Tim Johnston’s startling evidence in an attempt to determine if legal action will be pursued.
This week saw the end of five days of examination of the Firepower boss in the Federal Court in Perth, but the Australian Securities & Investments Commission has reserved the right to recall Mr Johnston if necessary.
Meanwhile Johnston has told the ABC that none of it was his fault and he is very sorry everyone lost their money. He also spun another line about working for Green Power. In fact, my sources say he hasn’t been seen anywhere near Green Power for quite some time.
Won’t be long now before another big name emerges – caught up in the on-going soap opera. For now, let’s just say the guy who was recently off skiing with Putin.
As I first reported in December a number of Firepower shareholders are having their claims of being ripped off quietly settled by the financial institutions that own one of the financial advisory firms that sold the dud investment. Some people are being offered up to 35 cents in the dollar as compensation and many are grateful to settle. But the shares sold through these brokers represent only about 10 per cent of what Firepower raised. The overall figure is more like $100 million when you consider the various strands of raising that went on – not all of which went to Tim Johnston, it should be stated, and some of which might be double-counted.
Others though have not been so lucky. They have made cases to various authorities, including ASIC and the Financial Services Ombudsman, and waiting for an outcome is like watching paint dry. In the meantime one of the other firms selling the shares has gone into liquidation, thus preventing authorities from imposing any penalties. The only hope for a majority of people appears to be the class action that is progressing with pace by the litigation funder IMF Australia.
The Federal Court action against those involved with Firepower is proceeding slowly. There are enough documents filed to fill a second book but the matter is still a long way from trial and there is yet no sign of Tim Johnston wanting to come back to Australia.