CONVICTED cocaine dealer has become a director of Queensland property companies that were once directed by flamboyant entrepreneur George Cheihk.

This bloke, a so-called multi millionaire crook cannot even maintain the cost of running his website it seems, some things never change.

Cocaine dealer director of Queensland property companies

A CONVICTED cocaine dealer has become a director of Queensland property companies that were once directed by flamboyant entrepreneur George Cheihk.

The companies have holdings including a $2.4 million building in Brisbane and land worth more than $10 million.

The convicted dealer, Joseph Frangieh, was appointed to seven companies on the same day in June that Mr Cheihk resigned after being declared bankrupt.

Joseph Frangieh

The news comes after it was revealed Mr Cheihk, whose companies once lavished money on Queensland politicians and sports teams, is listed in a record of creditors as owing $2 million to Mr Frangieh and his brother and fellow ex-convict Raymond.

Under corporations law, people convicted of offences involving dishonesty and punishable by imprisonment of more than three months are automatically disqualified from managing corporations for five years. Drug cases do not apply.

 Both brothers pleaded guilty in Parramatta District Court in 2003 to supplying cocaine.

Joseph was handed a sentence of two years and three months and immediately paroled.

Joseph the company director has denied being the same man as the convicted dealer despite business and court records linking the two.

Mr Cheihk said he did not know of or believe claims about the drug record.

Once noted on the BRW Young Rich list, Mr Cheihk is now an industry consultant.

His bankruptcy disqualified him from managing companies. In July, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission further banned him from managing corporations for three years over his role in four failed companies.

Mr Cheihk said he was trying to repay creditors and get the ASIC ban removed.

Joseph Frangieh, who also has had interests in NSW-based building companies, has declined to be interviewed.

Mr Cheihk said creditors including the Frangiehs were investors in property projects. Their investments had been made during the past two years.

Mr Cheihk said all money going into companies in the QLD Group, where he had been chief executive, had come from appropriate sources.

Dramatic crash of George Cheihk’s empire

BANKRUPT property entrepreneur George Cheihk, whose companies once splurged hundreds of thousands of dollars on Queensland politicians and top sports teams, is listed as owing $2 million to convicted cocaine dealers.

The convicted NSW dealers, named in a list of creditors provided by Mr Cheihk, are brothers whose father died in a violent drive-by shooting.

Mr Cheihk said he was unaware of any drug-dealing history for the brothers and did not believe The Courier-Mail‘s queries about them being the same people.

“If it is or it isn’t (them), at the end of the day, this is business,” he said.
Pledge to repay debts

Mr Cheihk said many creditors were investors in property projects and he was working on repaying them.
He said he was confident all money poured into his projects had come from appropriate sources.
“Every one of my investment partners – money came through banks. It was always wire-transferred through banks or borrowed against their homes,” he said.

Creditors include Joseph and Raymond Frangieh, who pleaded guilty to cocaine supplying charges and were paroled in 2003.
Their father Sayed was shot dead at his Sydney home in Merrylands West in December 2003.

His death was later linked in court to an earlier wild car chase involving Raymond Frangieh and another man.

Joseph Frangieh, who has declined to be interviewed, has denied being the same man as the convicted drug dealer. He also said he did not know what “you’re talking about” when asked if Sayed was his father or when the shooting was mentioned.
Business and court records link the convicted Joseph Frangieh to the creditor Joseph Frangieh. One of the creditor’s former addresses given in company documents is the same as where Sayed lived and was killed.

Mr Cheihk, who knew about Sayed’s death, said Joseph used to work in mobile phones with him.
He said Joseph introduced Raymond more recently and their investments came within the past two years.

Attempts to obtain comment from Raymond, beyond confirming his relationships with Mr Cheihk and Joseph, were unsuccessful.

In his heyday, Mr Cheihk was a BRW Young Rich lister who invited Lord Mayor Campbell Newman and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale to his 35th birthday party at his Brisbane riverside home in 2004.

Cheihk-linked companies also donated more than $600,000 in cash and assistance to local Liberal and Labor parties and campaign funds in fiscal 2004.

Sponsorships from QLD Group, where Mr Cheihk was chief executive, went to teams including the Brisbane Broncos. Charities also received donations. But Mr Cheihk is now bankrupt and banned from managing corporations.
He grew up in NSW with his first job serving fast-food chicken. He headed a mobile phone dealership which was wiped out in the One.Tel collapse in 2001.

“We lost pretty much everything,” Mr Cheihk said in an interview this year.
But he was “lucky enough” to still own a home in southeast Queensland’s Pinjarra Hills at the time.
Using this to borrow money, Mr Cheihk said he invested in a property which was subdivided and sold for profit. This process was successfully repeated with investment partners, he said.

The QLD Group’s website says from 2003 it grew to “become a prominent state property developer (with) interests in the Brisbane Western Corridor”.

Mr Cheihk branched back into electrical goods in 2005 as one of a “white knight” group of investors in stockmarket-listed chain Strathfield.

Some white knights became Strathfield directors and included Mr Cheihk’s friend Warwick Mirzikinian.

Strathfield would shift its Queensland head office to a two-storey Indooroopilly building owned by GCP Properties, where Mr Cheihk was a director.
Strathfield did not disclose this as a related party transaction but Mr Mirzikinian last year said this was because “there was no charge for rent”.

The move proved temporary. Mr Cheihk said permanent relocation was considered but “the option to lease was never taken”.

Lawsuits herald decline

Problems emerged in late 2005 and last year with lawsuits hitting Cheihk-linked companies including:

• A Brisbane Lions action over an allegedly reneged sponsorship. Mr Cheihk argued the sponsorship had underperformed.
•The owner of the B105 and Triple M radio stations suing over almost $50,000 in “dishonoured cheques”. The bill was eventually paid.
By last year, QLD Group acknowledged “cash-flow” problems but argued these would be resolved via land sales.
Yet problems also came from corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

In October last year, ASIC action saw Mr Cheihk personally fined $4600 over problems with a company which he says he helped manage.

ASIC hit harder this July, banning him from managing corporations for three years.
“Mr Cheihk failed to assist the liquidator of Livesay Road Developments Pty Ltd and Mobile Hut Pty Ltd. Further, Mr Cheihk failed to pay statutory debts to the ATO in respect of Mobile Tron Pty Ltd, Livesay Road Developments Pty Ltd and Nobull Fones Pty Ltd,” ASIC said.
Mr Cheihk said he would seek to get the suspension removed.
But he does not always encounter difficulty. One liquidator and his bankruptcy trustee have said Mr Cheihk has been reasonably co-operative.
Debts remain however. One is with the Canterbury Bulldogs which in March announced action against the QLD Group for failing to fully pay for a sponsorship deal.

Mr Cheihk insisted the team would be paid next week. “I pay my debts,” he said.

Mr Cheihk also said QLD Group is “now healthy” with millions in unsold stock and strong sales.

The debt which bankrupted Mr Cheihk personally goes back to his mobile-phone days. That debt involved distributor Roadhound Electronics chasing almost $600,000.

Mr Cheihk said he was considering fund-raising to pay out creditors. He listed $15 million being owed to creditors and some of these are associates.

Despite bankruptcy, Mr Cheihk said he now drives an $80,000 7-Series BMW.

“I probably earn a lot more than most people and risk a lot more,” Mr Cheihk said

Change in fortunes as drug accused sells mansion for $10m

The palatial seven-bedroom, 12-bathroom riverfront mansion of troubled property identity George Cheihk has fetched almost $10 million at sale, just weeks after he appeared in court on assault charges.

PHOTOS: Inside Rivergum Retreat

Troubled property identity George Cheihk

Troubled property identity George Cheihk

Rivergum Retreat was built nine years ago and occupies a sprawling three-acre block on the banks of the Brisbane River in the western suburb of Fig Tree Pocket.

Listing agent Joshua Smith said few other prestige properties could compare to what most considered to be one of the city’s finest luxury homes.

Mr Smith would not reveal the exact final price paid for Rivergum Retreat, describing it as just under $10 million – significantly short of the $12 million asking price.

Still, the pre-Christmas sale is the second highest on record in Brisbane, behind the $11.2 million purchase price for a home in Hamilton last year.

It is expected to come as some comfort to Mr Cheihk, who appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court last month following an incident at the upmarket Zuri nightspot in Fortitude Valley.

Police alleged the once-bankrupt businessman held a knife to the throat of another patron and was found in possession of the drug MDMA, capping off a tumultuous period for the former corporate high-flier.

A number of real-estate agents have tried unsuccessfully to offload Mr Cheihk’s Needham Street property over the past two years, but Mr Smith and two colleagues from Brisbane Real Estate found a buyer in six weeks.

The new owner is an unnamed Brisbane millionaire businessman who will move into the home with his family, including several children, when the contract settles next March.

The pad offers all of life’s luxuries under one big roof, including a Gold Class-inspired home theatre, climate controlled cellar, championship tennis court, infinity pool and billiard room.

Four living wings are connected by a central entrance, with a number of formal and casual living areas as well as two offices spread around the residence.

“From the hub of the house is the family room, rumpus room and bar that flows out to the teppanyaki outdoor (cooking) area that overlooks the pool and river,” Mr Smith said.

“It literally takes 45 minutes to speed-walk through the entire house. I can’t think of another property of this size, on such a huge block and situated so close to the city – no other property can really compare.”

The agent said he was “pretty speechless” at the quick sales result, achieved in the midst of the global economic crisis and a softening in the property market.

“I don’t think I’ll beat a sale like this for some time,” he said.

“This is a great result for all concerned – the buyer has picked up a sensational property that suits their needs and will only grow in value, and the vendor has achieved a sale.”

Tax call adds to George Cheihk turmoil

George Cheihk

BUSINESS turmoil . . . George Cheihk complained of negative stories.

THE state tax office has been pursuing the wife of Lamborghini-driving entrepreneur George Cheihk and one of his property-business partners, who this week complained about a lack of attention for his organisation’s charity work.

It marks the latest business turmoil surrounding Mr Cheihk, who recently managed to annul his bankruptcy by offering creditors – including convicted drug dealer Joe Frangieh – a $200,000 payout.

Creditors had been claiming $13.7 million but settled on the payout offer.

Mr Cheihk, who has mixed with Brisbane and Ipswich’s local politicians, has rejected suggestions the creditors’ meeting was stacked.

At the time he had been driving a leased orange Lamborghini, with the licence plate “Sheihk”, and living in an $8 million riverfront home listed in the name of his wife, Zoe. Associates have said Mr Cheihk paid what he was able.

It has now emerged Mrs Cheihk and Con Bassili, who took over from Mr Cheihk as director of QLD Group, had a judgment awarded against them in the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court in March this year for $26,790.75.

It related to a Commissioner of State Revenue assessment of stamp duty issued in May 2007. The case was first filed in November 2007. Court records indicate Mr Bassili was served with a claim notice at QLD Group’s Brisbane CBD office in January. Mrs Cheihk was served in February at her pontoon-equipped home, which has long been on sale and associates have said carried large amounts of debt.

The tax claim had remained outstanding and no defence was filed when the judgment came down.

Mr Bassili, Mr Cheihk and Mr Frangieh – a Cheihk creditor who recently said he could “annihilate” a journalist – this week came to The Courier-Mail to complain about stories involving Mr Cheihk.

Mr Cheihk has said monies from Mr Frangieh came from appropriate sources.

An issue Mr Bassili complained of was publication of negative stories without mention of charitable work. QLD Group has supported organisations including the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

Mr Bassili was yesterday not willing to discuss the tax issue or if the debt had been paid. “Don’t call this office any more, mate, you’re a grub,” he said before hanging up.

Mr Cheihk would not comment on queries about the claim against his wife. He said he did not want to be interviewed over the phone or at the newspaper, complaining he would be set up for a photograph.

However, the entrepreneur said he would be happy to talk at another venue, suggesting a coffee shop or proposing he would visit a reporter’s home yesterday evening accompanied by a “friend”.


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