Don’t worry about the Dick Smith sideshow playing out in the business pages this week. It’s highly unlikely those who ran (and handsomely profited) from the electronic retailer will receive any sort of penalty. That’s the lesson, anyway, from the decision of the Federal Court in hearing an appeal by the disgraced directors of the responsible entity of collapsed retirement home provider Prime Trust.
Unlike Dick Smith, Prime wasn’t a retail business, so you may not have heard of its untimely collapse. But it represents arguably the most calculated swindle in Australian corporate history. And courtesy of the intransigence of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (largely under former chair Tony D’Aloisio), with able assistance from the Federal Court, the perpetrators appear to be escaping completely scot-free.