With her dirty marital laundry given a thorough airing in recent weeks after an affair with her A-list former best friend’s husband was exposed, Sydney socialite Hollie Nasser has a new headache: an unfolding corporate drama involving her links to a failed cannabis company which went bust owing more than $1 million.

Happier times: Hollie Nasser, Annabelle Price and Ellie Aitken dining at Icebergs.

Happier times: Hollie Nasser, Annabelle Price and Ellie Aitken dining at Icebergs.Credit:Instagram

In November, this masthead reported the administration of start-up cannabis venture CannHarvest Limited on March 19, 2019. Nasser was briefly listed as its managing director. Her controversial venture capitalist brother Tim Alford was described as a consultant for AD Securities, a firm engaged to raise funds for CannHarvest.

Alford has been in and out of bankruptcy between 2007 and 2018, eventually coming up with money to have his bankruptcies annulled. AD Securities is listed as one of CannHarvest’s investors and creditors.

Alford, who is in the United States, told PS CannHarvest “did not provide the results expected” and claimed he had personally repaid “hundreds of thousands” to those investors he introduced to CannHarvest. He declined to comment further.

Alford is a former associate of Ron Medich, who is in prison for organising the 2009 murder of property developer Michael McGurk.

Medich, through former boxer Lucky Gattellari, also once pursued Alford, in an incident relayed at Medich’s 2013 committal hearing. Medich hired Gattellari to “give that little bastard a slap in the face and get my money back for me”.

This time it’s Alford’s younger sister Hollie Nasser who has dominated headlines. She declined to comment to PS this week but has described her CannHarvest experience as a “big headache” to friends.

CannHarvest was one of a slew of medicinal cannabis outfits linked to her name, despite her lack of senior corporate experience, including the now-deregistered Hempnut Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of CannHarvest and identified by liquidators as a “related party debtor” to CannHarvest for a loan of $9429.

Nasser told liquidators she had no knowledge of her directorship in Hempnut and no control over its financial affairs. She resigned from CannHarvest shortly before it went into administration and filed a complaint raising concerns about its management with corporate watchdog ASIC.

ASIC was notified of CannHarvest’s liquidation on May 3, 2019, less than 15 months after the company was registered on February 21, 2018.

Last month, liquidator Shelley Brooks, from the insolvency firm Rodgers Reidy, sent an update to CannHarvest Limited creditors. “As previously advised, this matter has potential personal legal ramifications on company directors, it is my intention to seek extension orders as part of my application to the court to enable me to commence recovery action,” Brooks wrote.

Nasser, a qualified psychologist, is named in capital-raising emails and promotional material for the new company in 2018, that referred to her as managing director of CannHarvest, and attached documents titled “Investor Briefing” and “Pre-IPO Offering” as a part of the pitch for money.

“Dear Investor, I am pleased to offer you an opportunity to invest in CannHarvest Limited, prior to its initial public offering, scheduled early 2019. CannHarvest is the group holding company for food-related products derived from cannabis (hemp) grain (seed),” the email said.

An ABC report on March 27, 2019, stated that three Tasmanian farmers who had grown crops for CannHarvest had been left “hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket” after the company collapsed.

Between investors and unsecured creditors, liquidator Shelley Brooks was reported as saying people were owed more than $1million.

Troubled waters for yachtie

While his mates – the Aitkens and the Nassers – continue to deal with their marital fallout, former high-flying fund manager Freddie Blencke will be spending Christmas and New Year behind bars following the latest allegations he assaulted his wife Annabelle Price at their eastern suburbs mansion earlier this month.

Blencke, a keen sailer, did not apply for bail this week and remains behind bars. He is facing a common assault charge along with two counts of contravening an AVO, a topic that has tongues wagging down at his sailing club, the exclusive Royal Prince Edward in Point Piper.

PS hears club management are keeping a close eye on court proceedings, with a criminal conviction likely to end his long-standing membership at the club.

Setting a low bar

It’s certainly been a big year for former NSW deputy premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro: he quit politics and split with Deanna – his wife of 27 years – only to take up with his former media advisor Jennifer Lugsdin. (Sound familiar?)

Is it really worthy of a plaque in his honour? That’s exactly what Stephen Found, owner of the city’s two biggest theatres – the Lyric and Capitol – has done outside the VIP bar at the Lyric in the Star Casino, which has also been renamed Bara Bar in his honour.

A plaque at the newly renamed Bara Bar at the Lyric in honour of former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro.

A plaque at the newly renamed Bara Bar at the Lyric in honour of former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro.Credit:

The inscription sounds almost Churchill-esque: “On 11 June 2020, during the darkest hours of the global pandemic and with all theatres closed around the world, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet provided unprecedented support to reignite live theatre in Australia.”

But with COVID-19 cases skyrocketing, PS can’t help but wonder if this is a case of premature exaltation. Meanwhile, where is outgoing NSW arts minister Don Harwin’s bar?

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Jones and the men’s club

The secretive male-only society that is The Australian Club, which saw any attempts to move into the modern era and allow female membership thoroughly quashed this year, has a new controversy emerging: the nomination of one Alan Jones as a new member.

PS understands the nomination, which goes before a committee and is gazetted to members to either support or protest, is being endorsed by the same group of members who fought so vehemently to keep membership of their elitist cubby house on Macquarie Street a boys-only zone for the foreseeable future.

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Andrew Hornery

www.smh.com.au

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