This week, Resnick filed an affidavit in federal court showing that while the Toplace Group is worth about $1.47 billion on paper, the group’s debt was roughly the same.
According to his website, “Toplace Group founder Jean Nassif has delivered around 30,000 residential homes, shopping malls and commercial spaces in Sydney.”
Although Toplace boasts of its “remarkable buildings”. [which] “delivered in response to evolving design and lifestyle trends,” a number of owner corporations have filed claims totaling nearly $124 million for repairing serious defects in Toplace buildings. Court documents show the administration is investigating the ongoing development of more than 3,000 housing units.
The administrators’ job is further complicated by the fact that a total of $319 million in intercompany loans are being processed between the Nassif companies. Additionally, a staffer has indicated that there may be an additional $400 million in loans at Nassif companies that are not in administration.
Administrators said an “apparent tangle of financial records” made it difficult to decode the debt web, noting that Toplace’s books and financial records had not been properly updated since 2021.
Another complication could be a possible division of assets between Nassif and his wife Nissy, who is described in court documents as “the estranged wife”.
The federal court has granted dVT an additional six months to clear up the financial wreckage of Nassif’s empire.
According to documents filed with ASIC, dVT claimed that the meetings Tayeh and Resnick attended prior to their appointment “will not affect our ability” to manage the Toplace group “in an objective and impartial manner.”
Resnick and McCallum also said that there were no other relationships relevant to creditors’ assessments of their independence.
However, the herald may reveal that despite his bankruptcy, Tayeh continues to show from ASIC documents that Tayeh remains a director of several companies, one of which also lists Jean Nassif’s brother Sarkis Nassif as a co-director.
Both men are founding directors of the Lebanese Christian Charity Foundation and remain on the board, according to ASIC documents.
Jean Nassif and his older brother Sarkis previously did business together and court documents show that Ashlyn Nassif and her uncle Sarkis hold power of attorney for Jean Nassif. Tayeh said he did not know that Sarkis held his brother’s authority, nor had Sarkis ever told him about it.
Sarkis, who is also a major real estate developer, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Tayeh denied he currently held any managerial position, even with the charity. “I have resigned and I am not a director of any company or organization, I also haven’t attended a meeting in this capacity since May last year,” Tayeh told the imprint.
Under the Corporations Act, a bankrupt person is not permitted to direct corporations or to be directors or company secretaries. Penalties for violating these rules include fines of up to $8,500 and imprisonment for up to one year.
Although Tayeh said he resigned from all board positions following his bankruptcy, company records show he remains on the boards of nine companies.
One of the companies where Tayeh is still listed as a director is Kollakorn – whose previous fellow board member was Sevag Chalabian, a former attorney recently accused of laundering $24 million in extortion funds related to the Plutus to Max twelve years in prison was sentenced to wage fraud.
“The matter of my bankruptcy is again public knowledge,” he said in a statement. “I have nothing to hide and as painful as the decades-long court process that preceded it was, both personally and professionally, I am one of thousands of Australians who take on this challenge each year.
“It doesn’t stop us from getting on with our lives.”
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