Mr Philip James Bart, Mr Geoffrey Thomas Parker and Mr Ronald George Johnson, the former Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Bruck Textile Technologies Pty Ltd (Bruck Textile) respectively, have been committed to stand trial on criminal charges.
They were committed for trial following a hearing before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on one charge each of preventing the recovery of employee entitlements, contrary to sections 596AB and 1311 of the Corporations Act.
The charges followed an ASIC investigation conducted under the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) into the activities of Bruck Textile. Bruck Textile was placed into liquidation on 11 July 2014 following the sale of the company’s assets to a related entity.
As a result of the liquidation, 58 employees of Bruck Textile lost their employment and their entitlements, including redundancy payments, were unpaid by the company.
It is alleged that Mr Bart, Mr Parker and Mr Johnson agreed to sell the assets of Bruck Textile with an intention to prevent the recovery or significantly reducing the amount of redundancy entitlements of Bruck Textile employees.
Bruck Textile’s former employees applied under the Commonwealth Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme for the payment of their entitlements after the liquidators found that the company did not have sufficient assets to meet them. Under this scheme, the Commonwealth advanced over $3.485 million towards paying Bruck Textile’s outstanding employee entitlements.
A trial date for Mr Bart, Mr Parker and Mr Johnson in the County Court of Victoria is to be fixed.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.