Sanctuary Cove property from Indian Ponzi scheme to go under the hammer tomorrow
Written on the 11 October 2018 by Matt Ogg
Of the 58.5 million Indians who were swindled in a Ponzi scheme of gargantuan proportions led by Nirmal Bhangoo Singh and the Pearl Group, more than 46 million are still owed money and some of those funds remain tied up in Australian property.
According to documents given to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2014, the extraordinary amount outstanding to those people - mostly poorly educated and of modest means - was $5.7 billion.
Some $140 million of that money was recovered through the sale of the Sheraton Mirage to a Star Entertainment-led joint venture earlier this year.
Law firm McCullough Roberton is looking after the proceeds in an interest-bearing account until the Federal Court orders their transfer.
But the battle isn't over yet to recover funds from Pearl's Australian property investments, in a case which Honourable Justice Lee described in a recent judgment as overly complex due to "a fog of irrelevancies and collateral disputation".
Not only has SEBI been at loggerheads with Pearl and its menagerie of investment vehicles to recoup funds, but it has also had an 'antagonistic' relationship with the investors themselves who initially spent $8 million on a class action lawsuit and lost.
In this broader context, a $4.9 million property at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast seems a trifle.
But for the prosecution, an auction that's due to take place tomorrow morning at Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club is a win nonetheless.
LJ Hooker, whose Surfers Paradise sales executive Rick Graham has been persistently pushing for the sale over the past two years, expects more than 10 national and international bidders for the property on 1019-1020 Edgecliff Drive, Sanctuary Cove.
A dispute is ongoing in relation to another Australian property, Mont Albert in Melbourne, but tomorrow's auction will hopefully mark an end to the saga's impact on the Gold Coast.
"The final asset is going to auction by Sales Executive Rick Graham of LJ Hooker Surfers Paradise thanks to the Federal Court stepping in after two years of being unable to sell the property," LJ Hooker said.
"This was due to dealings with numerous lawyers in India and five Australian law firms who could not find anyone with the authority to sign off on the contract.
"There is a positive end to the final asset being sold at auction as majority of the proceeds will most likely be returned to India to give some of the 50 million Indians who bought into the Ponzi scheme a small piece of financial solace."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Business News Australia
Author: Matt Ogg