The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced that former chief executive of van Eyk Research, Mark Peter Thomas, has been charged with four counts of dishonestly using his position as a director or officer of a company with the intention of gaining an advantage for himself.
According to the regulator, between 31 January 2014 and 20 February 2014, Thomas:
- As an officer of van Eyk Research Pty Ltd (van Eyk Research) and director of a New Zealand-based subsidiary of van Eyk Research, Blueprint Investment Management Ltd (BIML), facilitated a nearly $5 million investment from BIML (BIML Investment); and
- Used his positions to conceal from the trustee of the Blueprint CashPlus Fund and the Blueprint Australasian Income Fund (collectively the BIML Funds) reasonable detail of the BIML Investment and its purpose, knowing that the funds from the BIML Investment would be loaned to TAA Melbourne Pty Ltd (TAA) to purchase an interest in van Eyk Research to prevent a third party from obtaining a majority shareholding in van Eyk Research.
ASIC also alleged that between 21 February 2014 and 11 March 2014, Thomas used his position as:
- An officer of van Eyk Research to facilitate and instruct another company to rebalance two funds (for which van Eyk Research was the investment manager) into a separate fund (the Rebalance Investment), concealing reasonable detail of the Rebalance Investment and its purpose, while knowing that the rebalance was to fund the acquisition of the loan to TAA and ultimately prevent a third party from obtaining a majority shareholding in van Eyk Research;
- A director of a wholly-owned subsidiary of van Eyk Research, Three Pillars Portfolio Managers Pty Ltd (Three Pillars), to facilitate the acquisition of the loan made to TAA, concealing reasonable detail of the investment and its purpose and misrepresenting that there was no impediment or material conflict. ASIC alleged that, at this time, Thomas knew the purpose of the acquisition of the loan, which was directed to maintaining ongoing control of van Eyk Research.
The maximum penalty for each count of an offence of a director, other officer or employee of a corporation using their position dishonestly (section 184(2) of the Corporations Act) is $340,000 or imprisonment for five years, or both.