PHOTO: Toplace founder Jean Nassif (pictured with wife), is believed to have fled overseas and is wanted by NSW Police over fraud-related charges
One of Australia’s biggest and most controversial property developers, Toplace, has collapsed into administration.
The company’s founder, Jean Nassif, is believed to have fled overseas and is wanted by NSW Police over fraud-related charges.
Toplace Group has been described as one of Australia’s largest privately owned development and construction companies.
Its downfall is expected to impact thousands of apartment buyers and contractors across Sydney with several projects currently under construction.
What is Toplace?
Toplace is one of Australia’s largest privately owned building, construction, and property development companies.
The company has built more than 30,000 residential and commercial buildings around Sydney, including homes, shopping centres, and suites.
The company was founded in 1992.
Mr. Resnick said it was too early to guess how much money was owed to creditors, or how many apartment owners have been affected.
‘There are a number [of projects] at varying stages, and lots of land holdings,’ he told the Australian Financial Review.
‘Whether these are completed by administrators or sold off has yet to be decided.’
Creditors are expected to meet for the first time next week.
The company said it had suffered ‘operational difficulties’ like other builders in the post-lockdown period, due to staff shortages and the soaring price of materials.
‘Senior management is working closely with the VAs (voluntary administrators) to achieve the best possible outcome for its stakeholders, especially the creditors and our consumers,’ Toplace said in a statement.
‘We anticipate that through this process in time that all creditors’ debts will be met in full.
‘Contrary to media commentary no bank has ever lost any money financing Toplace Group projects. Toplace Group has an extensive property portfolio which will be realized throughout this process to satisfy the obligations to creditors.
‘Toplace is confident that with control being under the expertise of the VAs it will be in the best shape to navigate through these challenging times.’
NSW Police last month issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Nassif over allegations a $150 million loan from Westpac was obtained using fraudulent pre-sale documents for an apartment complex in Castle Hill.
The 55-year-old left the country on December 22.
He had earlier applied to review an NSW Fair Trading decision to suspend his license for 10 years and permanently ban Toplace from engaging in construction work.
Fair Trading found both Nassif and his firm had engaged in improper conduct.
The operational ban was temporarily lifted to enable the company to finish remediation works on several apartment blocks, but last week it was reinstated.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Westpac’s loan was already at risk with the warrant issued for Nassif’s arrest and no evidence that the developer planned to return to Australia.
Toplace also had a nominated supervisor in place to conduct rectification works.
Lawyers for Nassif and Toplace still oppose the decision to strip them of their licenses, and a final hearing at the tribunal is scheduled for October.
Toplace has also been ordered to fix serious defects in the Vicinity apartment complex in Canterbury, in Sydney’s south-west.
Mr. Nassif is the father of Sydney lawyer Ashlyn Nassif, who has been charged with fraud over the alleged $150 million development loan scheme.
Earlier this year, Jean Nassif was called to appear before an NSW parliamentary inquiry into allegations of impropriety at Hills Shire Council, but he declined to give evidence via a video link from Lebanon for legal reasons.
The Parramatta developer made headlines in 2019 when he gave his wife a canary yellow Lamborghini worth almost half a million dollars.
The gift exchange was posted in a video on Instagram that went viral and was widely described as ‘cringe’. Mr. Nassif famously said, ‘Congratulations, Mrs. Nassif. You like?’
Toplace has built more than 30,000 residential and commercial developments across Sydney.
SOURRCE: THE DAILY MAIL