• subs-bellGet the latest news! Subscribe to the ifa bulletin

SMSF property spruiker has assets frozen

The former boss of an SMSF, accounting and property investment firm has had his assets and passport frozen by the Federal Court, following an application from ASIC.

The corporate regulator announced yesterday that the Federal Court in Adelaide had determined to freeze all assets owned or otherwise held by the founder of the Charterhill group of companies, George Nowak, and his wife, Betty Nowak.

News of Charterhill’s collapse was broken by ifa sister publication SMSF Adviser on January 24, with subsequent reports revealing at least $6 million in SMSF investor funds had vanished from Nova Real Estate Pty Ltd and that ASIC was investigating Charterhill Group.

“The court also ordered the surrender of Mr and Mrs Nowak's passports and restrained their travel out of Australia, as ASIC investigates the collapse of the Charterhill group, which specialises in assisting clients to invest in property through self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs),” the ASIC statement said.

“ASIC's application was brought under section 1323 of the Corporations Act 2001 and followed steps taken by ASIC last week to secure Mr Nowak's passport by agreement and to obtain an undertaking from him that he would not dispose of or otherwise deal with any assets.”

In 2007, The Supreme Court of South Australia heard a civil dispute in relation to a contract for the sale and purchase of a property known as the Adelaide International Raceway.

The court documents reveal that the Honourable Justice Anderson found Mr Nowak to be “an evasive and unreliable witness”.

“For a chartered accountant, the ignorance which he claimed of the various statutory requirements and procedures relating to the processes within the offices of ASIC defies credibility,” Justice Anderson said.