Thursday 1 February 2007 LAWFUEL – Australia Business & Investment – The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has obtained court orders winding up an unregistered managed investment scheme which raised over $2.5 million from at least 85 investors, predominantly from the Greek community in Melbourne. The Supreme Court of New South Wales ordered that Mr John Melluish and Mr Peter Walker of Ferrier Hodgson in Sydney be appointed as liquidators to wind up Integrated Lending Pty Ltd (Integrated Lending), Integrated Lending (Victoria) Pty Ltd (Integrated Lending Victoria) and the managed investment scheme (the scheme) run by those companies.
The Court also made declarations that the individuals behind the companies and scheme, Mr Mark Hughes, of Newcastle in New South Wales, and Mr George Angelopoulos and Ms Helen Gougas, both of Melbourne, Victoria, had contravened the Corporations Act having operated an unregistered managed investment scheme, and carried on a financial service business and provided financial services without a an Australian financial services license (AFSL). The Court also granted injunctions permanently restraining Mr Hughes, Mr Angelopoulos and Ms Gougas from engaging in similar conduct in the future. ASIC’s Executive Director of Enforcement, Ms Jan Redfern said the registration of managed investment schemes with ASIC and the licensing of financial advisers was a requirement of the law, designed to protect the interests of investors.
‘Operators of managed investment schemes must ensure that the scheme is registered with ASIC, and those who fail to do so are breaking the law and will be pursued by ASIC’, Ms Redfern said. Background Between April 2003 and July 2005, at least 85 investors put over $2.5 million into the scheme under agreements where their funds would be on-lent by Integrated Lending as secured short-term commercial/business loans to borrowers at interest rates of at least 20 per cent per month. On this basis Integrated Lending offered the investors a return of approximately 10 per cent per month.
The majority of investors were from Melbourne’s Greek community and were introduced to the scheme by Mr Angelopoulos and Ms Gougas. It is believed the scheme operated in New South Wales and Victoria. Numerous investors have complained to ASIC that since investing in the scheme, they have received no interest payments or return of capital in accordance with the terms of their investment agreements. Furthermore, investors allege they have been provided with little or no information as to the whereabouts of their funds. For further information contact: Jan Redfern Executive Director, Enforcement Telephone: 02 9911 2191 Mobile: 0411 119 210 Danielle Huck ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3407 Mobile: 0417 540 769List your legal jobs on the LawFuel Network