Westpac broadens document chase in $294m Forum Finance fraud claim

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Westpac has widened its actions against Forum Finance and boss Bill Papas by targeting a suite of linked corporate entities, as investigations into an alleged $294 million fraud grow.

According to The Australian, the Federal Court ordered on Monday that National Australia Bank and four Forum Group companies, including Forum Enviro and Forum Group Financial Services, hand over documents to the court by Wednesday.

The orders require a copy of the most recent audited or unaudited financial statements and management accounts of four Forum Group companies.

They also call for a copy of bank account statements and debtors ledgers from the four companies from August 1, 2018 to now, The Australian reports.

Court documents show two plastic tubs of documents were removed from equipment leasing firm Forum Finance’s Walker Street office in North Sydney, as part of a search order.

Those same documents reveal holders of Forum Finance’s computer services blocked attempts from Westpac’s technical experts to access the company’s electronic records. 

According to The Australian, an annexed email from Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner, Felicity Healy, shows when she attended Forum Finance’s offices on June 29 she was told OurKloud, the holders of the company records, was controlled by a relative of Mr Papas.

The first attempt on June 30 to access the records proceeded days of fruitless attempts of communication before Justice Michael Lee ordered OurKloud to hand over the records on July 7. 

Westpac Australia’s exposure to the alleged fraud is a combined $294m – $254.5m from Westpac Australia and $39.8m from Westpac New Zealand. 

The whereabouts of Mr Papas, whose full name is Basile Papadimitriou, remain unknown.

Source: The Australian.

READ MORE: Still no sign of Sydney tycoon, Bill Papas, at centre of $300 million alleged Westpac fraud

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