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ASIC freezes assets of financial adviser and related companies

By Reporter
May 09 2024
1 minute read
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The corporate regulator has commenced “urgent” Federal Court proceedings against a Brisbane-based financial adviser.

ASIC announced on Thursday that it had commenced “urgent proceedings” in the Federal Court against Sunny Mahendra Prakash and his related companies, Principal Financial Services Pty Ltd, Self-Managed Super Pty Ltd, Provest Enterprises Pty Ltd, and Super Funds Australia Pty Ltd ITF Principal Superannuation Fund.

The regulator said that Prakash is a certified practising accountant, registered tax practitioner, SMSF auditor and financial adviser who is authorised by Principal Financial Services Pty Ltd to provide financial product advice regarding, among other products, retirement savings account products and superannuation.

ASIC added that it is investigating the businesses conducted by Prakash and the related companies, including in connection with financial advice and activities on client trading accounts from 28 January 2016 onwards.

On 28 March 2024, the Court made orders preserving the assets of Prakash and related companies and restraining him from leaving Australia.

On 19 April 2024, the parties consented to a variation to carve-outs to those asset preservation orders.

In her judgment from 28 March, Justice Meagher said that the matter arose from ASIC receiving suspicious activity reports and a reportable situation lodged with it by CommSec, the online share trading platform operated by the Commonwealth Bank.

“The concerns raised by CommSec were as to the manner in which the defendants invested money on behalf of the clients, movements of money between clients’ accounts and those of the defendants, including Mr Prakash’s personal accounts and those of other defendants, and as to whether Mr Prakash was investing client funds for his own purposes,” Justice Meagher said.

“CommSec has suspended the defendants’ accounts until 2 April 2024. Thereafter, CommSec proposes to close the defendants’ suspended accounts.”

The matter is listed for a case management hearing on 16 May 2024.

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