VOFF accuses ASIC and Shorten of collaboration post-Trio Fraud

Victims of Financial Fraud [VOFF] has levelled serious accusations at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Bill Shorten, in an open letter to Peter Kell, the regulator’s acting chairman alleging collaboration between ASIC and the Australian Workers Union (AWU) in relation to the Trio Fraud.

The letter said that VOFF had “ample evidence” of systemic failings of Australia’s financial system, ASIC and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority that started well before the Trio scheme’s establishment.

The organisation alleged that this included information suggesting a collaboration between Shorten, the then-Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation and ASIC to bring down the financial advisor who recommended Trio products to the AWU Officer’s Election Fund.

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VOFF claimed that this was evidenced by the fact that, of all the advisors to recommend Trio products, the two who were attacked were those that had advised the AWU. They alleged that there was no evidence to suggest that the other advisers were investigated equally.

“Under Mr Medcraft’s watch, ASIC followed the directive from Mr Shorten’s Office, to prosecute the financial advisor who recommended the Trio products to the AWU,” VOFF said, while also reinforcing that ASIC is meant to be an “independent Commonwealth Government body.”

“Vigorously attacking the family business that had recommended Trio to the AWU is more suggestive of outright retribution against an individual rather than addressing a serious crime against 6,090 clients,” the letter said.

VOFF also made allegations against Shorten himself, saying that his politicisation of the matter resulted in a refusal to accept that a crime had been committed and that, as Minister, his priority was to serve union-run superannuation funds rather than the community.

The letter alleged that Shorten “turned communities against each other” while exercising a “union bias” in the aftermath of the Trio Fraud.

VOFF also made it clear that they believe Greg Medcraft was responsible for failings in ASIC’s response to the Fraud.

“We feel (under the Chairmanship of Mr Medcraft) ASIC has been very adversarial, unhelpful and even combative and secretive over the more than eight years since the crime was uncovered,” the letter said.

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Brilliant letter, hopefully the current Gov uses it to their advantage, especially if ends the blatant cronyism and hypocrisy Shorten embodies, and roots out the current crop of biased (or incompetent) ASIC heads, like Kell himself.

In July 2012, I accompanied VOFF members during a meeting in Sydney with Shorten, Medcraft & other bureaucrats, to furnish a briefing about agency failures which had allowed the Trio Capital fraud to occur. I noted a prior investigation in the 1990's, during which the ATO & AFP had identified a Hong Kong entity, Zetland, which had abetted a tax fraud (see: Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions v Hart [2010] QDC 457 (30 November 2010) Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions v Hart [2010] QDC 457 (30 November 2010) & that Zetland associates had also masterminded the subsequent Trio fraud. I also noted that it appeared that the ATO & other agencies had apparently failed to properly utilise available AUSTRAC reports to identify & terminate the emerging risks associated with over $100m in Australian superannuation fund investments being sent, over a period of years, to offshore tax havens. I offered to furnish further specific details - under suitable legal sanction - but apparently I may as well have been talking to a brick wall. It now seems that I may have received more attention from Shorten had I been a retired AWU official, rather than a retired Commonwealth public servant.

Wow Bill, so how come Turnbull or ODwyer or any of the others now in Gov haven't jumped on this? Little short of criminal negligence...

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