The High Court requested the appointment of an insolvency practitioner for a Dublin-based forestry company

The High Court has been asked to appoint a temporary administrator to investigate the affairs of a Dublin-registered forestry company said to have raised €30m from investors.

The application was made in respect of GWD Forestry Limited with registered address at Northumberland Road, Dublin 4.

According to the court, GWD is insolvent and unable to pay its debts.

At a creditors’ meeting last December, the company proposed voluntary liquidation.

However, the company’s investors are concerned about the way the company has been run and its plan to go into voluntary liquidation.

GWD’s attempts to go into voluntary liquidation did not comply with Irish company law, it said.

The company is said to have called a second meeting of creditors, due later this week.

Concerned about a proposal to re-wind the company, an investor and creditor of GWD has petitioned the court to appoint PKF O’Connor Leddy Holmes’ liquidator Declan de Lacey as provisional liquidator.

Franco Bertellino of Rivoli in Italy says he wants Mr de Lacy appointed to mitigate risks, including preventing the company from proceeding with an improperly convened meeting of creditors.

He says he never received any return from the company on his investment.

Mr. Bertellino also has concerns that an insolvency practitioner could be appointed at the creditors’ meeting who may be more closely aligned with the interests of the company’s directors than with the company’s creditors.

Represented by Robert O’Reilly Bl, acting for Denis I. Finn Attorneys, the court heard that in 2014 Mr. Bertellino invested funds in companies which he believed to be linked to GWD in relation to coconut trees in Brazil.

He says he was offered and accepted a series of replacement contracts in 2017, which he says led to GWD acquiring plantations of Bixa Orellana trees, poplars and Christmas trees in Canada and Brazil on his behalf.

He became concerned after the company decided to hold a creditors’ meeting in late December to wind down the company.

That meeting took place last December and was chaired by Benjamin Taylor, who claims to be the company’s sole director. Mr Taylor was also advised at the meeting by an English solicitor named John Pennie.

It is alleged that Mr Taylor informed the meeting that he was the only member who had decided that the Company should be wound up voluntarily on account of its liabilities and that a liquidator be appointed.

Mr Bertellino said that after a series of questions for Mr Taylor at the meeting, several concerns had

It is alleged that Mr Taylor had unwittingly become the sole shareholder and director of the company on behalf of an individual named Mark Raynor, also known as Mark Lewis Daulby, the alleged main influence behind the company, who had been convicted of fraud in 2003 the public.

Mr Taylor originally resigned as a director of the firm in 2015 after becoming uncomfortable with Mr Raynor’s conduct but had agreed to return as director in 2021 to facilitate an investigation into the firm’s activities being conducted by the law firm of Mr Pennies would.

He was told that the company collapsed back in 2018 due to the actions of people who were placed in a position of trust by the company at the time.

It also emerged that Mr. Taylor had no access to or full knowledge of the company’s assets and liabilities, the whereabouts of its books and records, its bank balances or GWD’s creditors.

Other points of concern were that GWD allegedly filed statements with the CRO falsely disclosing that it was dormant and had never acted during the trade, and raked in an estimated €30 million from publicly marketed forest programs.

Some of the company’s assets may no longer exist, while others may have been moved to a network of loosely affiliated companies, it said.

The company’s Christmas tree crop was said to be harvested annually, but none of the proceeds appear to have been received by GWD.

Judge Brian O’Moore received the application for the appointment of the preliminary liquidator on Tuesday.

The judge ordered the company to be made aware of the application and adjourned the case until Thursday. The High Court requested the appointment of an insolvency practitioner for a Dublin-based forestry company

Fry Electronics Team

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