The national freight company 1st fleet had recently collapsed, seeing liquidators reaping back assets in an effort to scavenge any remaining profit that is to be had to repay as many of the losses as possible. Current allegations have arisen that the company’s sole director is a high rolling gambler at “The Star Casino”, a claim which is being investigated by the liquidators assessing the case.
Stephen Brown is the managing director and majority shareholder of 1st Fleet who denied the accusations of a gambling habit, expressed through the statement his wife made on Sunday to the Sunday Telegraph in Perth.
The news publication revealed that Mr Brown is on “first name terms” with VIP room staff at the respective casino, which also has entitled him to invitation only membership within the most exclusive rewards club of the casino.
Staff members of the casino have also spoken to media stating that he is seen regularly attending the VIP rooms.
The liquidator for 1st Fleet, Antony de Vries is currently investigating the claims of high roller gambling.
“We have been informed of him attending the high-rollers' room at Star casino. Whether there is any link between that and the demise of the company requires further investigation,” Mr de Vries said.
Assets owned by the 61 year old business man include a $250,000 Mercedes Coupe as well as a valuated $16 million Watsons Bay mansion, which is currently up for sale. Alongside these high priced assets are also the membership to The Star’s invitation only Jade Club.
When contacted by the local media, Mrs Browns only comments came through their home intercom on Sunday, claiming that her husband denied the accusations of being a regular gambler.
“He said it's all lies, it's destroying our family and we've gone through enough,” Mrs Brown said.
Mr de Vries has stated that the accusations have brought forth heavy scrutiny over Mr Brown’s actions. Mr Brown has been a director for over 30 years and holds 87 per cent of shares.
“He said it's all lies, it's destroying our family and we've gone through enough,” Mrs Brown said.”The director is the one who is responsible for the trading of the company,” Mr de Vries said.
“If it is shown that the director was trading the company while it was insolvent, he has exposure. But we need to investigate first if there is a claim against Mr Brown.
“We will be looking at all of the transactions of 1st Fleet and the shareholders leading up to this (liquidation).”
1st Fleet staff will be handed redundancy notices on their return to work on Thursday. The company had employed about 700 full time works and over 300 contractors.
The Government has also vowed to help affected workers who remain unpaid.