ASIC obtains Federal Court orders against major SMSF rollover investment scheme
ASIC has moved to shut down an unlicensed investment scheme, involving over 60 SMSFs, that is suspected to be engaging in unlawful activity.
ASIC successfully obtained interim orders and injunctions from the Federal Court in Queensland against A One Multi and its Gold Coast-based directors Aryn Hala and Heidi Walters to protect investors.
It is alleged Mr Hala represented to investors that he could help them invest their superannuation in a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) and then loan the money in their SMSF to A One Multi.
Court documents reveal Mr Hala and Ms Walters, through intermediaries, had allegedly arranged the documentation by which these SMSFs would be established.
ASIC alleges Mr Hala told investors that they would receive annual investment returns of over 20 per cent.
Between 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2021, more than 60 SMSFs deposited approximately $25 million into A One Multi’s accounts. ASIC alleges that Mr Hala has used more than $5.7 million of A One Multi’s money for his and Ms Walters’ personal benefit, including through acquiring real property and luxury vehicles in their names.
In addition, more than $2.4 million has been transferred from A One Multi to buy crypto-assets.
Of significance in this case is the large amount of money that has been transferred into cryptocurrency accounts.
On the basis of the investigations undertaken to date, Mr Hala may have had in his possession “Bitcoin” to a value of between $7 million to $22 million. There is the potential that he has other funds in other cryptocurrency accounts.
On 21 October 2021, the court found there was a need to protect the investors, and potentially others, and made the order to put A One Multi into the receivership of KPMG administrators John Ross Lindholm and Timothy James Michael (the receivers).
The court made asset preservation orders against Mr Hala, Ms Walters, and A One Multi, orders requiring the disclosure of information to ASIC against each of Mr Hala, Ms Walters, and A One Multi, including in relation to the crypto-asset holding along with travel restraint orders for Mr Hala and Ms Walters.
The court also made an order requiring Mr Hala to transfer crypto-assets in his name to the receivers.
On 25 October 2021, the first tranche of crypto-assets held in Mr Hala’s name was transferred to the receivers.
On 1 November 2021, the court made further orders requiring the defendants to attend an ASIC office to facilitate the transfer of remaining crypto-assets held or controlled by the defendants to the receivers. The orders were made pending a final hearing into the conduct of Mr Hala, Ms Walters, and A One Multi.
ASIC moved swiftly to obtain the orders given ease with which crypto-assets can be transferred or transacted.
ASIC’s investigation into Mr Hala, Ms Walters, and A One Multi remains ongoing.
Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.
Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.