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12-175MR ASIC freezes suspect funds held by unlicensed financial mentoring company
ASIC has acted to secure funds invested with an online financial mentoring company, Investment Intelligence Corporation Pty Ltd (Investment Intelligence) while it investigates concerns that the company and its sole director, Mr Senen Pousa, are carrying on a financial services business without holding an Australian financial services (AFS) licence.
ASIC has also obtained a prohibition of departure order against Mr Pousa of Byron Bay in New South Wales.
On 26 July 2012, ASIC obtained interim orders, by consent, in the Queensland Supreme Court over $3,092,799 held by St George Bank and $313,136 held by American Express Australia in the accounts of Investment Intelligence.
The matter will return to the Queensland Supreme Court for further hearing at a later date.
Investment Intelligence sold financial mentoring memberships through an internet platform called ProphetMax. The membership involves a number of web-based modules that include general financial literacy, life coaching and foreign currency trading advice.
ASIC understands there are over 3,000 members worldwide, including Australia.
Investment Intelligence recommended that members engage in foreign currency trading through a broker called IB Capital registered, in New Zealand.
Members were then instructed by IB Capital to transfer their funds into an account with ING Bank in the Netherlands. It is believed that members were told that these funds would then be used for foreign currency trading by a company in the USA called Global Forex Management.
ASIC’s investigation has revealed that Global Forex Management is not registered with the Commodities Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) in the US to trade in foreign currencies.
Neither Investment Intelligence or Mr Senen Pousa hold an AFS licence under the Corporations Act 2001.
ASIC’s investigation is continuing in conjunction with authorities in the US, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Editor's note 1:
On 17 December 2012 the Dutch Public Prosecution Service released a statement titled Investigation into international money laundering case.
Editor's note 2:
On 13 December 2012 ASIC amended its application seeking declarations that Mr Pousa and Investment Intelligence carried on a financial services business in contravention of s911A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), to include an application for Investment Intelligence be wound up on just and equitable grounds.
On 31 May 2013 Mr Pousa appointed Blair Pleash and Richard Albarran of Hall Chadwick as administrators of Investment Intelligence. On 7 June 2013 ASIC filed an application to have the administration terminated and PricewaterhouseCoopers appointed as provisional liquidators of Investment Intelligence. On 12 June 2013 the Court made orders that the administration be terminated and that Mr Pleash of Hall Chadwick be appointed as a provisional liquidator of Investment Intelligence. The Court also ordered that, within 21 days, the provisional liquidator file a report with the Court regarding the assets and liabilities, claims of and against Investment Intelligence, the viability of the business and and the solvency of Investment Intelligence.
Editor's note 3:
As a result of an application by a creditor heard by the Supreme Court on Wednesday 19 June 2013 Investment Intelligence Corporation Pty Ltd was wound up on the grounds of insolvency. Blair Pleash of Hall Chadwick Chartered Accountants was appointed by the Court as the liquidator. Creditors of Investment Intelligence Corporation Pty Ltd should contact Hall Chadwick.
ASIC's investigation is continuing.