A former director of migration company Clinica Internationale Pty Ltd (Clinica), Radovan Montague Laski (aka Rod or Rodney Laski), has been declared bankrupt by the Federal Circuit Court after an ACCC application for a sequestration order.
The Court made the order following Mr Laski’s failure to pay more than $380,000 in legal costs after action by the ACCC led to a Federal Court judgment against him.
In the earlier ACCC proceedings, Clinica was found to have engaged in unconscionable conduct and made misleading and deceptive representations in a scheme that falsely promised permanent residency to migrants. Mr Laski was held to have been knowingly concerned in this conduct.
“We are committed to holding individuals to account for failing to comply with costs orders made against them in enforcement proceedings,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
Clinica offered migrants training and sponsored employment in the cleaning industry under a program which it claimed would lead to permanent residency, but had no cleaning jobs available. And even if Clinica had found these jobs, they would not have met the skill level enabling people to apply for the relevant visa.
Approximately 90 migrants paid a total of over $760,000 in fees to participate in the program.
“We took the original legal action against Mr Laski because of the appalling behaviour which took advantage of vulnerable individuals,” Mr Sims said.
In most cases, Clinica clients were newly arrived migrants on temporary visas with limited commercial experience, who needed to obtain permanent residency within a short period of time in order to be permitted to stay in Australia.
“Clinica’s clients had significantly weaker bargaining power, and were induced to pay substantial sums of money on the basis of false or misleading representations and unconscionable conduct,” Mr Sims said.
“This is a reminder to businesses and individuals that if you break the law, there are real and serious consequences.”
In 2015 the ACCC instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Clinica, alleging that Clinica made false or misleading representations and engaged in unconscionable conduct in relation to a program offering migrants training and employment that it represented would lead to permanent residency in Australia. The ACCC also alleged that Mr Laski was knowingly concerned in the conduct.
In 2016, the Federal Court found that Clinica had engaged in unconscionable conduct and made false or misleading representations about the program, and that Mr Laski had been knowingly concerned in that conduct. The Court ordered Clinica and Mr Laski to refund payments made by migrants, and to pay penalties totalling $1.025 Million. Mr Laski was also disqualified from managing corporations for five years.
In 2018, the Court also found that two other companies related to Clinica which had previously been controlled by Mr Laski, Letore Pty Ltd (Letore) and Swishette Pty Ltd (Letore), were knowingly concerned in the contravening conduct of Clinica. The Court ordered Letore to compensate victims of Clinica’s permanent residency program. While Letore held insufficient funds to pay full compensation to all Clinica clients, as a result of the ACCC’s action, around $360,000 was refunded to 83 clients.
The ACCC has also separately obtained orders for the winding up of Swishette and Letore because of their failure to pay costs orders to the ACCC.
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