The Victims of Financial Fraud (VOFF) group has called for an independent inquiry into the Trio Capital scheme fraud case similar to the investigation carried out by the Australian Federal Police into the recent Australian Taxation Office (ATO) fraud case.
The group said the Trio operators had exploited the weaknesses in the Australian financial system, and according to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (ASIC), without breaking any laws.
“Despite ASIC’s knowledge of the fraud, it claimed that the money lost in Trio was due to the conduct of some financial planners in Australia who appear to have been influenced by high commissions in recommending their clients into the Trio Capital products,” the group said.
VOFF has called on the Australian government to “recognise the unique position of the Trio victims”, arguing they suffered monetary losses due to the systemic failure of the Australian financial system.
“Australians deserve an independent inquiry into the Trio fraud with the same clarity as the Australian Financial Review’s three-part features ‘Inside Plutus’ published on 4-6 July 2017 by Neil Chenoweth,” the group said in a statement.
“The features show a proper professional investigation carried out by the Australian Federal Police, unlike what ASIC [Australian Securities and Investments Commission] did for Trio.
VOFF said the Trio Capital scheme relied on deception to carry out the fraud. The Trio directors provided ASIC and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) with all required compliances, which engendered trust from consumers knowing Trio funds were regulated, licensed and governed by both regulators.
VOFF argued the entire financial system failed, pointing to systemic failure as both the regulators, the National Australia Bank (NAB) and ANZ, the auditors, AUSTRAC and the research houses all failed to identify that the Trio structure was established to defraud investors of their superannuation.
VOFF noted ASIC could not release information about Trio due to national security reasons while the Parliamentary Joint Committee assigned to investigate the fraud did not have access to important information, without which the public did not have an opportunity to heed lessons from the superannuation fraud.