ASIC's years-long probe of a Gold Coast couple, who were allegedly operating a financial services business without an AFSL, has reached new ground with the Supreme Court of Queensland permanently restraining them from carrying on the business.
According to the judgement, delivered yesterday, the court declared Roger Munro had breached the Corporations Act by seeking, accepting and obtaining financial investments without holding an appropriate licence.
Dr Munro's wife, Kathleen Susan Munro, has been permanently restrained from "permitting or authorising" her husband to use bank or brokerage accounts in her name to carry on the business, the judgement said.
Further, they were ordered by the court to pay ASIC's legal costs. The Munros have not been prevented from returning investors' money.
ASIC announced it would launch civil action against the pair in July 2015. The regulator claimed Dr Munro had been operating a financial services business since August 2011 and had raised more than $1.5 million from investors, family and friends for trading purposes.
However, documents cited by ASIC show the pair had lost money from trading in Australia, with at least one investor still owed $500,000.
A significant portion of funds, which had been provided to Dr Munro for trading, was transferred to a brokerage account in Mrs Munro's name.
The Courier Mail reported in 2012 that ASIC had attempted to prosecute Dr Munro but failed after the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions determined there were no reasonable prospects of conviction.
Commenting on yesterday's judgement, ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said: "Consumers should not invest with a person or entity in Australia unless they are authorised by, or hold, an AFS licence.
"The Australian financial services licensing regime provides safeguards for consumers, including adequate compensation arrangements for retail clients," Mr Tanzer said.
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