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Liquidation order for six firms in $200m Pilbara ‘ponzi’ scheme

All six companies are associated with would-be Pilbara real estate developer Veronica Macpherson.
All six companies are associated with would-be Pilbara real estate developer Veronica Macpherson.Picture: The West Australian

Six companies at the heart of an alleged $200 million Pilbara ponzi scheme have been put into provisional liquidation by the Federal Court.

Justice Michael Barker this morning appointed KPMG’s Hayden White and Matthew Woods as provisional liquidators of six companies associated with would-be Pilbara real estate developer Veronica Macpherson after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission applied for the move as part of its investigation of the alleged ponzi scheme.

ASIC claims the alleged scheme has taken up to $200 million from investors in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK and beyond.

The companies are all believed to have been centrally involved in promotion and management of Ms Macpherson’s Newman Estate project, a 240-lot development in the Pilbara’s iron ore heartland.

ASIC said today it had applied for the appointment of liquidators because it asserted in the proceedings before the Court that the companies had been “involved in multiple contraventions of the corporations legislation and are not complying with their obligations under that legislation, were not being properly managed and are suspected to be insolvent”.

The companies include: Macro Realty Developments Pty Ltd; Macro Realty Developments AFSL Pty Ltd; Macro All State Investments and Securities Ltd; Pilbara Property Developments Pty Ltd; Macro Realty Pty Ltd; and 511 GTN Pty Ltd — already in receivership after a Hong Kong hedge fund that was a major early lender to Ms Macpherson appointed FTI Consulting to recover its investment last year.

Justice Barker ordered the liquidators to prepare a report for the court outlining the estimated assets and liabilities of the group, an opinion as to their solvency, and investigate whether any breaches of the Corporations Act have been committed by the companies and their directors.

Ms Macpherson appeared in court this morning, but did not oppose the appointment of the liquidators.

The matter returns to court on May 30.

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