ASIC announced this afternoon that the Federal Court in Melbourne today ordered two directors of a Melbourne-based financial services business – that ASIC is investigating – to surrender their passports.
According to ASIC, the interim orders are part of an ongoing investigation into alleged unauthorised withdrawals of client funds and charging of fees by Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, a company which provides financial services including establishment of SMSFs.
The orders prevent Vanessa Ash, a lawyer and former ASIC employee, and her husband Bradley Grimm from leaving Australia, ASIC stated.
On 17 April 2015 ASIC stated it obtained ex parte orders that restrained the travel of Ms Ash and Mr Grimm, and also froze the assets of the defendants, including the personal assets of Ms Ash and Mr Grimm, and all assets owned or otherwise held by Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd and Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd.
Following a hearing on 21 April 2015 at which the defendants were represented, the orders were extended on an interim basis, ASIC said.
ASIC appeared today for the court’s decision following a further hearing on 4 May 2015 at which ASIC sought an adjournment of the matter and a continuation of the orders.
According to ASIC, Her Honour Justice Davies did not continue the asset restraint orders.
Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd is a corporate authorised representative of Marigold Falconer International Limited, previously known as Falconer & Company Limited.
Ms Ash is a current director of Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd and Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd, ASIC said.
Mr Grimm, a financial planner, is a joint director of Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd and former director of Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd.
ASIC stated Mr Grimm is also an authorised representative of Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd and Marigold Falconer International Limited.
Ostrava Equities has offices in Melbourne and Sydney and approximately 100 clients. Advertised services include SMSF establishment and management, financial advice, insurance and legal services, ASIC said.