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Winley report reveals true scale of missing funds

More than $8 million went missing from the accounts of failed Perth authorised representative company Winley Insurance Group, according to the liquidator’s report to creditors.

As previously revealed by insuranceNEWS.com.au, Winley collapsed last year following an alleged theft of funds from the company’s trust account.

The RSM Australia Partners report says preliminary investigations indicate about $8.69 million “appears to have been misappropriated” between December 2013 and January last year. The company’s known liabilities total $3.31 million, but this is expected to rise.

Former MD Jeff Bailey says the company ceased trading in April last year after he discovered the money was missing. He resigned on April 18, and has since been banned from the financial services industry by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

ASIC also revoked Winley’s licence after investigating its failure to lodge annual audited financial statements from and including June 30, 2014.

The liquidator’s report says Chandanie Godwin and Michael Kapilovsky may have been de facto Winley directors, and Steven Godwin a shadow director. There are no details at this stage on Mr Kapilovsky’s precise role or background.

It details a $5.17 million loan to a company called Private Equity Fund (PEF), which does not appear to have been repaid.

The report says ASIC searches reveal former Winley CFO Nickolas Rapos as the sole director of PEF, but he claims to have been a director “on paper only” and that PEF was controlled by Ms Godwin and/or Mr Kapilovsky.

It says Winley may have traded while insolvent since January 2014, and there could be “provable claims” against directors.

The liquidator has reported the missing funds to the WA Police Fraud Squad, and will continue to liaise with detectives.

The report says Ms Godwin, Mr Godwin and Mr Kapilovsky have not been contactable and enquiries suggest they are overseas.

The liquidator says there are insufficient funds to progress investigations further, but backing could come from creditors or litigation funders.

So far only $103,477 has been recovered from a bank account, and unless significant recoveries are made there will be no dividend distribution to creditors.

A meeting of creditors will take place at the Perth offices of RSM Australia Partners on September 20 to consider progress.

Creditors who have not been in touch should notify RSM of any claim by emailing jessica.atherton@rsm.com.au.

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