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Bankrupt lawyer back in court following $4.7m ATO debt

The Federal Court has heard yet another chapter in a long-running dispute involving a bankrupt Melbourne migration lawyer who moved to Romania amid a $4.7 million debt he owed the ATO.

user iconNaomi Neilson 15 August 2023 Big Law
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Justice Michael O’Bryan ordered Florin Burhala to pay $55,840 into the court as security as he attempts to appeal an April 2023 decision made by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in favour of Andrew Yeo and Gess Rambaldi, the trustees of the bankrupt estates of Mr Burhala and his wife, Tania Burhala.

The proceedings can be traced back to 2016 when the Federal Circuit Court declared Mr Burhala was bankrupt and pursued him for over $4.7 million in outstanding taxation liabilities.

Mr Burhala had worked as a migration lawyer in Melbourne between 1988 and 2015 but moved to Romania shortly before the bankruptcy.


There are currently three proceedings in Romania brought by Mr Yeo and Mr Rambaldi seeking to challenge the transfer of assets to Mr and Mrs Burhala’s children and to secure an enforcement order.

In October 2019, a registrar with the Federal Court awarded more than $4.7 million to the Australian Taxation Commissioner. Mr Burhala unsuccessfully tried to set this aside in December 2020.

In April this year, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia declared Mr Yeo and Mr Rambaldi were acting reasonably and were justified in seeking to recover sufficient assets in order to pay not less than $8,921,081.22 in the bankrupt estates in Romania.

Mr Burhala is now seeking an extension of time and leave to appeal.

In his oral submissions on Monday (14 August) afternoon, Mr Burhala accused the defendants of “doing everything in their power to prevent me from having my day in court” and added that Mr Yeo and Mr Rambaldi are “preventing me from pursuing this appeal”.

“It is my argument that the application for an extension of time and leave to appeal has merit, and there are serious legal questions that need to be answered,” Mr Burhala added.

Justice O’Bryan’s written judgment will be published shortly.