The NSW Supreme Court issued a search and seize warrant earlier this year to obtain assets from a collapsed Griffith winery, an exclusive Region investigation has found.
Sans Pareil Estate, owned by Hanwood’s Aaron Salvestrin, went into liquidation in October 2022. The company allegedly owes $32 million to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and hundreds of thousands of dollars to regional small businesses.
The liquidator, Chifley Advisory, claimed Aaron’s parents, Dennis and Annette, frustrated the liquidation process and previously “failed to provide access to [its] agents for the collection of the company’s assets” in its report to creditors released on 5 December 2023.
Ben Horne, a lawyer representing Dennis and Annette, responded to this claim.
“[The parents] don’t accept that the events occurred in the way the liquidator has presented them in his report,” he told Region.
“But it would be inappropriate for [the parents] to comment given that the matter was resolved and there was a deed of settlement executed.”
A deed of settlement is effectively a legal document signed by both parties to settle a dispute. No details on the deed of settlement between Chifley Advisory and Dennis and Annette Salvestrin have been made public.
Chifley Advisory claims it commenced legal proceedings when it was denied access to assets by the parents.
“The Supreme Court of NSW has issued a search and seize warrant … to seize all the remaining assets which were located at [an address in] Hanwood … this warrant was executed in May 2023 with the police and independence solicitor’s assistance,” the liquidator wrote in their report.
The NSW Supreme Court confirmed to Region that this warrant was issued on 1 May 2023.
The liquidator also said it undertook legal proceedings to discharge alleged security registrations held by the parents over some winery assets.
The Supreme Court proceedings were undertaken in the civil jurisdiction, meaning they related to property or money and were not criminal matters.
Dennis and Annette Salvestrin have not been charged with any offences in relation to this matter, nor has Aaron Salvestrin.
“Creditors should note that a liquidator is unable to pursue any criminal offences and/or its associated civil penalties or damages that may be identified as it is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of the Commonwealth and/or the relevant State(s) and the relevant law enforcement agencies to consider,” Chifley Advisory stated in its report.
“The liquidator is unable to comment on this matter in any event.”
Several luxury vehicles owned by Sans Pareil Estate have now been sold by the liquidator, including a 2014 McLaren P1 Supercar, a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE53 and a 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG. The McLaren was signed by Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo and sold at auction for $1.47 million.
In total, 31 vehicles were owned by the winery at some stage during its operation (between 2018 and 2022), as referenced in liquidator reports.
The liquidator also initiated civil Supreme Court proceedings against Mr Salvestrin for allegedly making “unreasonable director-related transactions”. Region has covered progress on this case extensively.
In court documents, the ATO alleged the winery created false financial statements to receive GST refunds to which they were not entitled.
Aaron Salvestrin launched Sans Pareil Estate in 2018. The name is a French term meaning “without equal”. The company sold everything from bulk wine to black-label reds and received positive reviews for its flagship product, its 2018 shiraz named Monumental.