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17-127MR ASIC takes action against Courtenay House Capital Trading Group to protect investors
Following an application by ASIC, the Supreme Court of NSW has made interim orders by consent against Courtenay House Capital Trading Group Pty Ltd (Courtenay House Trading Group), Courtenay House Pty Ltd (Courtenay House) and a number of other parties, including freezing their assets and restraining them from carrying on a financial services business.
ASIC obtained these orders in connection with its ongoing investigation into Courtenay House Trading Group and Courtenay House to protect the interests of parties who have invested through those companies.
Courtenay House Trading Group and Courtenay House offer returns to investors from trading in foreign exchange and futures commodities.
The parties subject to the orders are:
- Courtenay House Trading Group;
- Courtenay House;
- Proactive Property Services Pty Ltd;
- Sipina Enterprises Pty Ltd;
- TheNowGroup.com.au Pty Ltd;
- Tony Iervasi, director of the Courtenay House companies and Proactive Property Services;
- David Sipina, director of Sipina Enterprises and Courtenay House Trading Group; and
- Athan Papoulias, employee of Courtenay House Trading Group and director of TheNowGroup.
An interim travel restraint order was also made against Tony Iervasi.
The amount that has been restrained in bank accounts associated with Courtenay House Trading Group and Courtenay House could be as much as $25 million.
The Supreme Court determined that there was sufficient evidence to make the interim orders based on ASIC's concerns, which include:
- Courtenay House Trading Group has been carrying on an unregistered managed investment scheme and that other parties have been involved in that conduct;
- Courtenay House Trading Group and Courtenay House have been providing unlicensed financial services; and
- Courtenay House Trading Group and Courtenay House have dealt with investor funds in a manner inconsistent with the conduct of a managed investment scheme.
Until 27 April 2017, Courtenay House Trading Group was the investment manager of a registered managed investment scheme, known as the Courtenay House Capital Investment Fund, Australian Registered Scheme Number 155 250 433 (the Fund). On that date, Australian Mutual Holdings Limited, the responsible entity for the Fund, terminated the appointment of Courtenay House Trading Group as investment manager. The Fund is not subject to the interim orders or ASIC's investigation.
The interim orders are in place until 4 September 2017, when the matter is next in Court.
ASIC’s investigation is at an early stage and ASIC will not be making any comment in relation to its investigation at this time.
Information for Investors
If investors have queries regarding investments made in the Fund (which distributes returns annually rather than monthly) they should contact Australian Mutual Holdings Limited, the responsible entity for that fund, care of Lilly Case at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 02 9241 7959.
If investors have queries regarding investments made directly with Courtenay House Trading Group or Courtenay House, ASIC has established a dedicated webpage at http://asic.gov.au/courtenay-house which contains information for investors including how to contact ASIC.
Editor's note 1:
On 16 May 2017, the Supreme Court of NSW made orders, by consent, for the winding up of Courtenay House Capital Trading Group Pty Ltd and Courtenay House Pty Ltd and the appointment of Said Jahani and John McInerney, of Grant Thornton, as joint liquidators to both companies (refer: 17-142MR).
Editor's note 2:
On 1 September 2017, the Court further extended the orders limiting the extent the defendants can use their assets and restraining the defendants from carrying on a financial services business, until 5 March 2018 (these orders apply to all defendants except the Courtenay House Companies). The travel restraint order made in relation to Tony Iervasi also continues to 5 March 2018. As a result, the hearing date of 4 September 2017 was vacated and the matter will return to Court on 5 March 2018.
Editor's note 3:
On 5 March 2018, the Court further extended the orders limiting the extent the defendants can use their assets until 23 March 2018. There was no extension of the orders restraining the defendants from carrying on a financial services business. The travel restraint order made in relation to Tony Iervasi also continues to 23 March 2018. The matter will return to Court on 23 March 2018 when the liquidators of the Courtenay House Companies will be applying to be substituted as plaintiffs in ASIC's place.
Editors Note 4:
On 23 March 2018 Justice Black made orders restraining the extent to which Tony Iervasi, David Sipina and Athan Papoulias and their companies (the Defendants) can deal with their assets. The orders were made on the application of the Courtenay House companies as ASIC's proceedings have now been discontinued. There is also an order preventing Mr Iervasi from leaving Australia. The orders are in place until 30 May 2018 to allow time for the liquidators to hold public examinations and determine whether they will take any action against the Defendants to recover money for creditors of the Courtenay House companies.