Overseas asset recovery by the Official Assignee

Recently the Official Assignee has been successful in recovering property from bankrupts who live overseas. The Official Assignee has been able to achieve this by obtaining assistance from overseas courts through reciprocal cross border insolvency laws. Here are a few recent examples:

Bankrupt A

After obtaining a letter of request from the New Zealand High Court to the Court of Chancery in the UK seeking assistance under the British Insolvency Act 1996, the OA was able to secure funds from a property sale. 

The funds recovered were sufficient to repay the bankrupt’s debts and the costs of the bankruptcy administration. The bankruptcy was subsequently annulled.

Bankrupt B

The bankrupt advised the OA of a property owned in Australia, but provided information that showed there was very little equity in the property. Subsequently the OA found that the property had been sold for significantly more than the value originally advised and that the bankrupt had received a share of AUD$170,000 equity.

An application was filed with the New Zealand High Court to obtain a letter of request for assistance from the Australian Federal Court. When the Australian Federal Court ordered the bank accounts frozen the bankrupt paid the OA AUD$70,000 to settle the matter and pay the debts and costs of the bankruptcy administration in full.

Bankrupt C

A bankrupt who resides in Australia had an interest in a property in the UK. The OA was unable to contact the co-owner in the UK. The OA obtained an order from the UK court restraining the property and the bankrupt subsequently paid sufficient funds to pay their debts and the costs of the bankruptcy in full.

Bankrupt D

A bankrupt in the UK who resides in a jointly owned property has sufficient equity to repay their debts in full. They did not respond to the OA’s requests to transfer of the equity to the OA so Cross Border proceedings were commenced and a restraining order obtained over the property. The bankrupt’s solicitor has now indicated that a settlement offer will be made.