Johanna Johnson – Another Aussie Designer Feels the Pinch

In an all too familiar tale another Aussie designer has entered into liquidation for allegedly failing to pay tax bills and employee superannuation.  Johanna Johnston once dressed Hollywood royalty and had her gowns on the backs of Christina Hendricks, Madonna and Chrissie Teigan at the height of her ‘it girl designer’ status.

And then somehow it all went wrong to the tune of an alleged $AUD1.1million.  But even more interestingly Ms Johnson does not seem to understand the whole concept of liquidation and in an extraordinary move has registered a new company using an almost identical trading name ‘Johanna Johnson the Label’ to recommence business only days after the liquidators were appointed.  Ms Johnson has been been using social media to make promises to women who paid ‘up front’ for frocks – predominantly in the bridal sphere – that such frocks will be delivered before their big days. However, she does seem to have missed the memo that her prior business and any of its assets including fabrics, patterns and equipment, are now under the control of the company’s liquidators.  In simple terms, the money paid for the gowns is money of the old company to be distributed evenly amongst all creditors including the Australian Taxation Office and former employees of the company.

The idea that the new company would deliver dresses can only be premised on Ms Johnson causing her new business to start and construct all dresses for free.  Now that brings a tricky little quandary for the directors of the new company, who it should be noted are not Ms Johnson but rather her sister and husband, as to how constructing a number of dresses for clients of another corporate entity for free could in any way be in the interests of the new company.  But that is possibly an issue lost on our new directors who are clearly stepping in to help Ms Johnson out of a tight spot.  But an even greater question needs to be asked of Ms Johnson, if she is able to effectively start afresh with the new company how is it that she is unable to pay the debts that caused Justice Brereton of the Supreme Court of New South Wales to order that the company be placed into liquidation?

In the ordinary course of a winding up the liquidators will be at pains to ensure that Ms Johnson has done nothing to prejudice creditors and will attempt to get the best return for creditors as possible.  However, that is little solace for the brides to be that may be sans dress for their great day.



Guccio Gucci Arrested for Fraudulent Bankruptcy


Source: Daily Mail                        Source:

Firenze – 11 September 2014

Guccio Gucci, the great grandson of the founder of Gucci is currently under house arrest at his home in Firenze on charges of fraudulent bankruptcy.

The allegations arise following Signor Gucci filing for bankruptcy for his company Esperienze Srl, the creator of the  “To Be G” hand bag range, in December 2013.  Signor Gucci is accused of diverting some 800,000 Euro of cash and assets from the company to meet his personal debts prior to filing for bankruptcy.  He also faces charges of fraudulent tax evasion totalling 400,000 Euro.

According to Italian authorities the assets were transferred to a new company with its head office in Perugia also run by Gucci and his co-conspirator, Sergio Moroni, the Chief Legal Officer of Esperienze Srl.  Signor Moroni has also been charged.

In securing the arrest warrant Prosecutor Christine Von Borries said that Signor Gucci, acting with another conspirator “emptied the coffers of the company so as to render debt collection by the Italian Inland Revenue of 386,000 euros for the years 2007-12 impossible.”

In determining to order the arrest of Signor Gucci the investigating magistrate is reported to have said “We are not looking at the classic example of problems of a company that has failed because of the crisis. The operation was a complex one and was designed almost entirely to pay off some debts.’

To date the Italian authorities have recovered 400,000 Euros.

Under Italian Criminal Law directors and officers of bankrupt companies can be punished with imprisonment from 3 to 10 years if they are found to have committed a crime associated with fraudulent bankruptcy including diversion, concealment…or dissipation of all or part of the company’s assets.  An essential precondition for the criminal liability is an intention to direct the company’s assets to a different destination from the company’s corporate purposes and to have the creditors of the company.