29 May 2015, Written by Nick Nichols


DISGRACED Gold Coast businessman Craig Gore has been banned for life from dealing in financial services for his part in an offshore scheme that the Federal Court found had misused more than $4 million raised from small investors.

His wife Marina also has been banned for 7.5 years as Federal Court Justice Richard White handed down penalties to the Gores and four other respondents in the civil case brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in 2012.

Justice White, in handing down his orders today, says it is appropriate to characterise Gore's conduct as 'dishonest'.

"Mr Gore's taking of monies for his own personal use which was subscribed for the purpose of investment in real estate cannot be characterised in any other way," he says

Justice White had previously found that Gore, while bankrupt, was the architect of the scheme that channeled the funds raised from self-managed super funds to companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The court found that rather than using those funds to buy distressed property assets in the US, close to $2 million was applied for the personal use of the Gores and others.

Today's court orders ban the Gores from providing financial services, including from carrying on any business related to superannuation interests.

Liquidators Damian Templeton and Darren Lewis, of KPMG, have also been appointed to a string of companies in the British Virgin Islands and the US in order to conduct investigations into their affairs and possibly recover funds.

ASIC says it will monitor the liquidation process "but will generally not become involved in matters of commercial judgment by a liquidator".

ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer was pleased with today's outcome, which had aligned with ASIC's submissions for penalties.

"Today's outcome shows the courts, ASIC and the community will not tolerate behaviour that seeks to destroy people's lives," Tanzer says.

"With more than 539,000 SMSFs, over a million members, and assets totalling more than $550 billion, ASIC has ramped up its attention on a sector which is of growing importance to more Australian investors."

ASIC has previously said the scheme had intended to raise up to $20 million from investors before it intervened following an investigation that began in 2011.

Other respondents to be banned from providing financial services were former Gore lawyer Mark Adamson (10 years by consent), former director of ActiveSuper Jason Burrows (10 years by consent) and former director of Royale Capital Justin Gibson (7.5 years by consent). Offshore-based company director Geoffrey George has also been banned for life.

The court has ordered the respondents to pay 95 per cent of ASIC's costs.

The only exception is former Gore associate Graham Stonehouse who has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

ASIC was ordered to pay 45 per cent of Stonehouse's legal costs given that the allegations made by ASIC against him were found not to be proven.

Author: Nick Nichols





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