ASIC bans former directors of failed online search firm Uglii Group

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ASIC bans former directors of failed online search firm Uglii Group

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has banned two execs of the now-defunct Uglii Group from running any company.

Former Uglii Group directors Heather Knorr and Ge Zhu were disqualified by ASIC from managing corporations for four years for their roles in the insolvency of six companies within the group.

Uglii Group, whose core business involved search and indexing technology, was wound up in 2016 after the six companies in the group became insolvent.

The six companies were Uglii Corporation Limited, Traralgon Technology Holdings Limited, Uglii Find Australia Limited, BizMio Limited, Projects Discovery Services Pty Ltd and Uglii Ads System Pty Ltd.

ASIC alleged that Knorr and Zhu both failed to prevent the company from incurring further debts once it was insolvent and were not able to perform their duties as company directors.

The two also allegedly failed to lodge financial reports for the 2014-15 financial years, among many other allegations.

Knorr’s disqualification started on 4 April 2019 and will continue until 3 April 2023, while Zhu won’t be allowed to run companies from 22 March 2019 to 21 March 2023.

A Fairfax report in late 2015 revealed Uglii allegedly raised $25 million through a "honey trap", fleecing 3600 mostly unsophisticated investors – including pensioners, small business owners and bushfire victims.

The group’s former chief executive, John Knorr, allegedly inflated the company’s worth and prospects, and that the companies never earned any revenue and relies on shareholder investments to keep it going.

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