The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has banned a Sydney man who was a director of an accounting firm which was part of a scheme which saw funds raised from clients for the provision of mezzanine finance and mortgage lending.
The man, Dimitri Amargianitakis, has also entered into an enforceable undertaking not to run a company for 18 months.
The action against Amargianitakis also prompted ASIC to issue a reminder that from 1 July 2016, accountants recommending the establishment of self-managed superannuation funds must be licensed or be an authorised representative of an Australian Financial Services licensee.
As well as being a director of an accounting practice, Amargianitakis was the director of Vista Capital, which an ASIC investigation found had carried on a financial services business without holding an Australian financial services (AFS) licence, made investment recommendations to investors without holding an AFS licence, and signed financial statements in circumstances where he knew that they were not accurate.
ASIC said Vista Capital provided mezzanine finance and mortgage lending, and raised funds for these activities by borrowing mainly from clients connected with the accounting practice Akis & Associates, of which Amargianitakis was a director.
Commenting on the action, ASIC Commissioner, John Price said it represented a timely reminder for the public to only deal with individuals and businesses who are able to demonstrate they are properly licenced to provide financial services.