The ex-wife of fugitive property tycoon Jean Nassif is refusing to hand back a $120,000 Range Rover bought with money from the failed Toplace development empire — while a $300,000 Lamborghini is “missing”.
A bombshell administrators report into Toplace — which was one of Australia’s biggest private developers before being swept into administration last July — shows Nassif shifted more than $18 million offshore.
That included $17m transferred to two Beirut bank accounts, one owned by Nassif and the other owned by Bakhos Khazen Nassif, believed to be Nassif’s brother.
Nassif, who founded Toplace in 2009 and was its sole director, fled to Lebanon in the months before the group collapsed and there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
The report to creditors by administrators dVT Group reveals Toplace — which had estimated debts and assets of $1 billion — had likely been trading while insolvent since “at least” 2020.
Assets of the group included a Sydney Harbour-front mansion in inner-west suburb of Chiswick — the “matrimonial home” of Nassif and his “ex-wife” Nisserine — and five luxury vehicles, the administrators said.
Mystery surrounds one of those vehicles, a Lamborghini 636, with an estimated value of between $263,000 and $325,000, which had been “transferred” to an “undisclosed party”.
“Vehicle transfer conducted pre-appointment to an undisclosed party,” says the report.
“Ongoing investigations underway to locate proceeds of sale of vehicle”.
In 2019 Nassif presented Nisserine “Nissy” Nassif with a Lamborghini 636, with the exchange making headlines after Nisserine posted it to social media.
Nisserine “Nissy” Nassif with the Lamborghini 636. Source: Instagram
Other vehicles bought with Toplace money included two Range Rovers, a Mercedez Benz, a Ford Mustang and a dual-cab Dodge Ram pick-up truck, the report says.
One of the Range Rovers, with an estimated value between $104,000 and $127,000, “remains in the possession of (Nassif’s) ex-wife” — who is refusing to hand it back.
Nisserine Nassif had rejected an offer from administrators to help her purchase a “more affordable” vehicle, the report states.
The administrators had “proposed an offer to repossess the vehicle” and to hand over some of the proceeds to “provide a more affordable option to Nissine”.
“This offer was rejected,’ the report says.
“This offer was rejected” — Administrators dVT Group
The administrators said NSW Transport had put a freeze on the car being sold and the “broader strategy remains to sell the asset” once “legal proceedings have been resolved”.
The Mercedes, an M-AMG E63 S, with an estimated value of between “$103,000 and $126,000”, remained in the hands of Nassif’s 28-year-old daughter Ashlyn, a lawyer.
Ashlyn — who is due to appear in court on Wednesday on fraud allegations — had been provided with the vehicle as part of her employment at Toplace, the report states.
Ashlyn Nassif. Source: Supplied
The report states a transfer of ownership freeze had been also placed over the Mercedes, which administrator said it planned to repossess and sell.
No freeze had been placed over the Lamborghini, which had been transferred, to an “undisclosed party”, “pre-appointment” of the administrator.
The administrator’s report, dated February 1, states the bank account of Toplace Pty Ltd shows $60,000 in outgoings under the description “Loan Ashlyn” and $360,000 in outgoings under the description “Nissy Nassif”, the report shows.
The Toplace collapse is part of an even bigger political scandal, tied to a far-right “Christian” group called the NSW Reformers and allegedly involving two brothers of former NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
“The Toplace collapse is part of an even bigger political scandal”
The scandal is the subject of an ongoing formal probe by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which is tipped to culminate in high-profile public hearings.
In June 2022 NSW Liberal MP Ray Williams told state parliament that senior Liberal Party members had been “paid significant funds” by Nassif to get councillors elected to the Hills Shire Council to get developments approved.
A string of Liberal Party councillors had in December 2021 been ousted from the council, in Sydney’s outer north-west growth corridor, after unexpectedly failing to gain Liberal Party endorsement.
It is alleged Nassif financed the council stacking, with money allegedly funnelled to new Liberal councillors via “lobbying” or “consulting” companies.
It is illegal in NSW for property developers to finance elections.
The Klaxon’s forensic coverage of the NSW Reformers scandal. Source: The Klaxon
The stacking of the council was allegedly tied to NSW Reformers, a little-known extreme “Christian” group allegedly tied to Jean-Claude Perrottet and Charles Perrottet.
Both men refused requests to attend the NSW upper house inquiry, with Jean-Claude avoiding being “served” and so legally forced to appear.
Both men deny wrongdoing.
Perrottet’s Liberal government was ousted at last year’s election.
Weeks before the election Chris Minns, then the NSW ALP Opposition leader, called for the Hills Shire Council to be suspended.
Weeks later, after winning the election and becoming NSW Premier, Minns announced the council would not be suspended because there was an ICAC investigation underway.
Administrators said they had met with NSW Police and the NSW Crime Commission.
Of the Toplace group of companies, 57 are currently in administration under dVT Group.
Jean Nassif. Source: Supplied.
Ashlyn was arrested last year when the NSW Police Organised Crime Squad raided four Nassif properties, including the waterfront mansion, Toplace’s headquarters in nearby Concord and Ashlyn’s Sydney CBD law firm EA Legal.
Her since deleted LinkedIn profile stated she had worked as a Toplace executive since July 2016 and had owned EA Legal since 2017.
Police allege Nassif and Ashlyn defrauded Westpac after lodging fraudulent pre-sales contracts to obtain a $150m loan for a property development, Skyview, in Castle Hill in Sydney’s west.
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