Regulator obtains court orders in SMSF investigation
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been successful in obtaining court orders from the Federal Court of Australia to pursue its ongoing case investigation into misleading self-managed superannuation fund advice.
The court made orders on 19 March appointing two Grant Thornton personnel, Michael Gerrard McCann and Robert Graham Killer, as provisional liquidators to MOGS Pty Ltd, the latest entity to have liquidators attached to it in the investigation.
According to ASIC's statement of claim (SOC), MOGS is an Australian incorporated property investment company that received approximately $3.1 million from SMSF trustees for the purposes of investment in US and Australian direct property.
The vast majority ($2.15 million) of those investable assets, ASIC claims, were paid to MOGS and used for numerous purposes other than intended, including payments to director Craig Gore's trustee in bankruptcy, Mr Gore's former wife, Marina Gore and various consultants including but not limited to Murphy Dawson, Need Properties, Shaw Consulting, Chant Consulting and Slijderink Consulting, "all or most of whom are or were associates of Craig Gore".
"At no time were investors informed that moneys invested pursuant to the US Realty Memorandum would or had been lent to MOGS, rather than being used for the purposes stated in US Realty Memorandum," the SOC states.
The appointment of liquidators and obtaining of court orders follows comments made by ASIC commissioner Peter Kell before a parliamentary joint inquiry on Friday 15 March about the regulator's growing concern with misleading investment advice in the SMSF space.
"[The SMSF sector] is very much on our radar screen," he said. "The sector is becoming very popular and effective, but we're concerned about marketing activities and the promotion of direct property through SMSFs in particular," the commissioner said.
"We are currently putting together a task force to look at these issues and to clarify our jurisdiction over SMSFs, as it crosses a number of regulatory spheres."
It also follows KPMG's appointment as provisional liquidator to Syndicated Property Group, Worldwide Property Opportunities and Cayco Management in December, as part of the same investigation.
Other directors of MOGS mentioned in the SOC alongside Craig Gore are Marina Gore, Graeme Sydney Stonehouse and Mark Gordon Adamson.
The matter returns to court on 26 August.