Couple claims businessman swindled them of millions

Zaffar Iqubal Khan.
Zaffar Iqubal Khan.

A TOOWOOMBA couple is fighting to recover millions in money and assets they claim were swindled by a dishonest business partner.

Dr Ellis Gibson and his retired doctor wife Margaret, who suffers from a rare autoimmune disease, were in 2012 persuaded by Brisbane-based businessman Zaffar Iqubal Khan to invest more than $1 million of their retirement nest-egg in the after-hours medical service, Dial a Local Doctor.

Mr Khan promised them high profits and rapid expansion, the couple claims.

The first payment of $550,000 was made in 2012.

A year later they paid a further $550,000 after Mr Khan presented a plan to open 20 after-hours medical services across Australia within 12 months.

Another $550,000 was paid by the Gibsons in 2013 when they were approached with plans for further expansion and growth.

Two years later, Dr Gibson and his wife are millions out of pocket.

Their fightback began this week when they filed a Statement of Claim in the Supreme Court, calling for Khan and the accompanying five defendants' assets to be frozen and returned to the Gibsons.

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The 31-page court document states the Gibsons entered into the business venture with Mr Khan on the assumption that he could be trusted and business liabilities would be evenly split between the two parties.

The suit claims Mr Khan, between June 5, 2013, and March 10, 2014, withdrew more than $132,600 from the Dial a Local Doctor bank accounts, depositing the funds into his own and another account.

Court documents claim the Gibsons had not received any profit from the business, either the original Toowoomba enterprise or the wider Australian unit.

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The suit claims debit Mastercards linked to the business account were set up in the name of the Gibsons and Mr Khan, however the Gibsons did not take possession of the cards.

It states invoices were paid by cheques made out to cash with withdrawn sums left not itemised in company financial records.

It alleges the defendants diverted Medicare benefits payable to the Dial a Local Doctor business, and failed to distribute profits to the Gibsons.

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The suit also claims the defendants failed to ensure the service maintained its Accredited Medical Deputising Service rating.

The Gibsons have filed to have substantial assets returned to them including five Kia Rio cars purchased for the business in Toowoomba, along with computers, medical supplies and office equipment.

The suit claims the defendants breached their fiduciary obligations by failing to act in good faith with regards to the business contract.

The suit was filed by Brisbane-based firm Lillas and Loel Lawyers in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Mr Khan yesterday afternoon said the matter was in the hands of his lawyers and declined to comment.

Dr Gibson did not return calls yesterday.

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