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15-308MR - Attachment - Court Appoints Provisional Liquidator to Ostrava Equities and related entities
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been investigating the conduct of Bradley Grimm and Vanessa Ash and the companies they control: Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd, Ostrava Wealth Management Pty Ltd, Ostrava Asset Management Pty Ltd, Ostrava Securities Pty Ltd, Trade BTC Pty Ltd, Prometheus Capital Pty Ltd, Beta Pharmacology Pty Ltd and Thrive Lending Pty Ltd.
In April 2015, ASIC commenced proceedings against Grimm, Ash and their companies (the Corporate Defendants) in the Federal Court.
On 20 October 2015, Mr Grimm and Ms Ash consented to orders appointing Ms Leanne Chesser and Mr Craig Shepard of the Melbourne office of Korda Mentha as provisional liquidators to each of the companies listed in the first paragraph of this letter.
Ms Chesser and Mr Shepard have been appointed until 18 December 2015.
The Court also made orders restraining the Corporate Defendants and Mr Grimm from being involved in financial services. Ms Ash gave an undertaking to the Court to the same effect.
What is the effect of the provisional liquidators' appointment?
A provisional liquidator is an independent third party appointed by the Court to take temporary control of the conduct of the companies and their assets. The appointment is a caretaker role, intended to protect the companies' assets and business.
During the period of the provisional liquidators' appointment, the directors of the companies do not have any authority to operate the business. However, the provisional liquidators have the same powers as a director of a company and can make decisions on behalf of the companies.
Mr Grimm and the Corporate Defendants are restrained from carrying on, or being involved with the conduct of a financial services business, and/or providing financial advice until further order. The undertaking Ms Ash gave to the Court has the same effect. This means that they cannot provide financial or investment advice to any person until further order of the Court.
The provisional liquidators can be contacted for further information. Inquiries can be made to Annabel Martin at Korda Mentha, on 03 8623 3352 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
What happens next?
On 23 November 2015, the provisional liquidators will produce a report to the Court and ASIC about their findings. A copy of this report will also be provided to Mr Grimm and Ms Ash.
The report will address the following matters:
- identification of the assets and liabilities of each of the Corporate Defendants;
- the likelihood of funds being returned to creditors;
- any other information necessary to allow for the financial position of the Corporate Defendants to be assessed;
- any suspected contraventions of the Corporations Act by Mr Grimm or Ms Ash; and
- any suspected contravention of the Corporations Act by the Corporate Defendants.
A further hearing will be held in the Federal Court on 18 December 2015. At that time, it is expected that the Court will consider the substance of the report prepared by the provisional liquidators and ASIC will tell the Court whether it wishes to proceed with its application to wind up the Corporate Defendants. If, having regard to the contents of the provisional liquidators' report, ASIC decides not to press this application against any of the companies, control of the relevant company will likely pass back to the directors. If the provisional liquidators' report does not suggest that any of the companies should not be wound up, it is likely that the Court will appoint Ms Chesser and Mr Shepherd, as official liquidators, to conduct the winding up.
ASIC is continuing its investigation into suspected contraventions of the Corporations legislation by Mr Grimm and Ms Ash. At the hearing on 18 December 2015, ASIC will provide an update to the Court in respect of any additional relief it is seeking.
Attached is ASIC Information Sheet 43 Insolvency: A guide for shareholders (INFO 43), which contains general information about the role of a liquidator.
Complaints about Ostrava or Mr Grimm
Ostrava Equities Pty Ltd (Ostrava Equities) is an authorised representative of Marigold Falconer International Limited (MFIL) (AFSL 244315). Bradley Grimm is also an authorised representative of MFIL.
MFIL has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that its authorised representatives comply with financial services laws. Pursuant to s917E of the Corporations Act, MFIL may also be liable to the clients of Ostrava Equities for any loss or damage suffered as a result of Ostrava Equities or Bradley Grimm's conduct. Any concerns or complaints about the financial services provided to you by Ostrava Equities or Mr Grimm can be made to the licensee directly.
The contact details for MFIL are:
Marigold Falconer International Limited
3/45 William Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9939 5393
If any complaint is not satisfactorily resolved by MFIL or remains unresolved after 45 days, then it may be pursued with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). FOS offers a free external complaints resolution scheme that can independently assess and determine complaints. MFIL is a member of FOS.
The contact details for FOS are:
Financial Ombudsman Service
GPO Box 3, Melbourne VIC 3001
Ph: 1300 78 08 08
ASIC is not able to provide any legal or financial advice to clients of Ostrava Equities and Mr Grimm.
ASIC will update its website with any developments in the court proceedings.