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Media Counsel liquidation draws to a close, as Wynyard comes under SFO microscope

The Media Counsel hit the skids back in February 2010. And in the fifth six-monthly report, liquidators McDonald Vague are in no doubt as to what caused it: "The reason for the company's failure lies solely with [Glenda Wynyard's] action of removing funds from the company to fund her own lifestyle". 

According to the report, 97 unsecured creditors are owed nearly $2.2 million. And preferential claims for wages or salary, holiday pay and redundancy equal $236,069, with the IRD claiming $45,883. 

The report says the amount of work in progress was overstated at the time of liquidation, and no work has been completed since. And while the liquidators managed to obtain $2,548 for assets and $30,306 from debtors, when you add that up it means it "does not expect to be paying a distribution to unsecured creditors". 

McDonald Vague's Boris van Delden didn't return our calls to discuss the findings, but The Serious Fraud Office confirmed it has commenced a formal investigation. 

"Following a complaint received from liquidators, McDonald Vague, the SFO has assessed and completed an evaluation of the complaint,"  a spokesperson said. "The SFO have concluded that an offence of serious fraud may have been committed and  have commenced a formal investigation under Part II of the SFO Act."

Wynyard, who famously said "I’m a fucking street-fighting hori from Bay of Islands, so it’ll take more than this to get me down" after the company lost is PMAA accreditation and formally responded to her detractors on StopPress soon after the news of the liquidation surfaced, declared herself bankrupt in August 2010.

The liquidators are also "pursuing other avenues against trusts and other parties that benefitted directly from the company". 

McDonald Vague hopes to retire as liquidators as soon as possible once it collects a GST refund (a portion of it is expected to be claimed by the IRD as part of its preferential creditor's claim), finalises debtors collection and completes the various recovery actions. 

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