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.
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.