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Thursday 7 May 2015

15-106MR Court orders surrender of Ostrava directors’ passports

Following an application by ASIC, the Federal Court in Melbourne today ordered the surrender of the passports of two directors of a Melbourne-based financial services business which ASIC is investigating.

The interim orders are part of an ongoing ASIC investigation into alleged unauthorised withdrawals of client funds and charging of fees by Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, a company which provides financial services including establishment of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).

The orders prevent Vanessa Ash, a lawyer and former ASIC employee, and her husband Bradley Grimm from leaving Australia.

On 17 April 2015 ASIC obtained ex parte orders which restrained the travel of Ms Ash and Mr Grimm, and also froze the assets of the defendants, including the personal assets of Ms Ash and Mr Grimm and all assets owned or otherwise held by Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd, and Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd. Following a hearing on 21 April 2015 at which the defendants were represented, the orders were extended on an interim basis.

ASIC appeared today for the Court’s decision following a further hearing on 4 May 2015 at which ASIC sought an adjournment of the matter and a continuation of the orders. Her Honour Justice Davies did not continue the asset restraint orders.

The matter is back before the court on 26 May 2015.

ASIC’s investigation is at an early stage and cannot comment further on the status of the investigation at this time.

Background

ASIC’s application was brought under section 1323 of the Corporations Act 2001.

Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd is a corporate authorised representative of Marigold Falconer International Limited (previously known as Falconer & Company Limited) (AFSL No 244315).

Ms Ash is a current director of Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd and Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd.

Mr Grimm, a financial planner, is a joint director of Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd and former director of Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd. Mr Grimm is also an authorised representative of Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd and Marigold Falconer International Limited.

Ostrava Equities has offices in Melbourne and Sydney, and approximately 100 clients. Advertised services include SMSF establishment and management, financial advice, insurance and legal services.

Editor's note

On 26 May 2015 ASIC applied to the court to extend the travel restraint of Ms Ash and Mr Grimm for 3 months. On 2 June 2015 the Court discharged the travel restriction orders, upon Ms Ash and Mr Grimm giving an undertaking to the Court that they would not leave Australia until 18 August 2015 without first giving ASIC 14 days notice of their intention to do so and details of their travel itinerary. The proceeding has been adjourned to 14 August 2015 for directions.

Editor's note 2:

On 14 August 2015 the matter was adjourned to 24 August 2015 for directions.

Editor's note 3:

ASIC has applied to have a provisional liquidator appointed to Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, Ostrava Wealth Management Pty Ltd, Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd, Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd, as well as 4 other companies controlled by Mr Grimm: Prometheus Capital Pty Ltd, Beta Pharmacology Pty Ltd, Thrive Lending Pty Ltd and Trade BTC Pty Ltd. This application has been listed for hearing on 20 October 2015.

Editor's note 4:

At the hearing on 20 October 2015, following an application by ASIC the Federal Court in Melbourne made orders appointing a provisional liquidator to the following companies: Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, Ostrava Wealth Management Pty Ltd, Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd, Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd, Prometheus Capital Pty Ltd, Beta Pharmacology Pty Ltd, Thrive Lending Pty Ltd and Trade BTC Pty Ltd. The matter is listed for a further Directions Hearing on 18 December 2015 (refer: 15-308MR).

Last updated: 22/10/2015 12:00