Official Assignee to oppose lifting Serepisos’s bankruptcy

The Official Assignee has filed papers in the High Court opposing the automatic discharge of high-profile property developer Terry Serepisos from bankruptcy next month.

The government agency, which administers all bankruptcies, filed a notice in the High Court in Wellington objecting to the lifting of Serepisos’s bankruptcy, a spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“This means that he will not be automatically discharged from his bankruptcy when he becomes eligible for discharge on 7 October 2014 (being three years from the date he filed his Statement of Affairs),” the spokesman said. “As the matter is now before the court it is inappropriate for the Official Assignee to provide any further comment.”

The objection was filed before Serepisos’s arrest yesterday at Wellington International Airport at the behest of the Inland Revenue Department, which Fairfax Media reported as being over unpaid child support. Serepisos appeared at the Family Court in Wellington today.

The high-profile property developer, who was forced to relinquish his licence for the Wellington Phoenix Football club in Australia’s A-League as his creditors circled in 2011, was adjudged bankrupt in September 2011 on application from South Canterbury Finance over a $22.5 million debt . He had failed to win a four-day reprieve to try to secure a US$20 million facility from a Hong Kong-based merchant bank.

At the time of his bankruptcy, his portfolio of about 150 residential properties and more than six commercial buildings was valued at $232.5 million with debts totalling $204 million.

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