Alleged cocaine importer still has ties to SELX Yass

It may be some time before Jeir businessman and alleged cocaine importer Rohan Arnold is removed as a director of the Yass saleyard.

Mr Arnold remains a director of South Eastern Livestock Exchange (SELX) in Yass and the Western Victoria Livestock Exchange (WVLX) in Mortlake, Victoria.

Brendan Abbey and Rohan Arnold after the opening cattle sale at the South Eastern Livestock Exchange (SELX) in Yass. Photo: The Land

Brendan Abbey and Rohan Arnold after the opening cattle sale at the South Eastern Livestock Exchange (SELX) in Yass. Photo: The Land

He and three other men were arrested in Serbia in January 2018 on charges in connection to one of the largest seizures of cocaine in Australian history.

Mr Arnold was denied bail and has been held in custody in Serbia and then Australia for 12 months, preventing him from taking any action as a director. 

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Associate professor of law Jason Harris said if there was a conviction, that would be the only circumstance that could automatically disqualify Mr Arnold as a director of SELX and WVLX.

Mr Harris, from the University of Technology Sydney faculty of law, said there were two other avenues for Mr Arnold’s removal as director, given his current incarceration.

A majority of shareholders at a company meeting could vote Mr Arnold out, he said.

Or, the company constitution would need to stipulate the terms of a director's removal, he said.

However, private companies such as SELX and WVLX are not compelled to have a constitution, Mr Harris said.

Yass Valley mayor and SELX director Rowena Abbey said she was seeking her lawyer’s advice about any possible removal of Mr Arnold.

“We have got to get it right,” Cr Abbey said this week, speaking as a private citizen, and echoing her statement of January 2018, following Mr Arnold’s arrest.

Mr Arnold was an “absent director” and had not had any involvement with the company since his arrest, she said.

“We have been taking the steps to remove him as a director of the company; unfortunately, those steps take a long time,” she said.

Speaking to SELX sellers, it seems Mr Arnold’s arrest and incarceration has not adversely affected business.

Some 6705 sheep were for sale at the first cross ewe event at SELX on Monday January 7.

They returned prices up to $275 a head for graziers, despite prevailing drought conditions.

Mr Arnold was also a director alongside the Abbeys in the company behind a proposed service centre, ‘Yass Industrial Park’.

However, Cr Abbey’s husband Brendan Abbey has had Mr Arnold removed from this directorship, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Company documents show Mr Arnold ceased to be a director of Yass Industrial Park in early November last year.

It is not clear whether Mr Abbey bought out Mr Arnold's share.

Mr Arnold was also a director of the Fairley Child Care Centre in Murrumbateman, and two child care centres in Canberra.

Fellow directors, father and son David and Ben Hewlett, could not be reached by the Yass Tribune to confirm Mr Arnold's removal. 

Mr Arnold is being held in the Long Bay Correctional Complex in Sydney and was denied bail in the NSW Supreme Court in August.

He is facing five charges of importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs arising from ‘Operation Amorgos’ alongside David Campbell of Murrumbateman and Tristan Waters of Canberra.