ASIC registers win in prolonged legal battle

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has secured another legal victory at the end of a prolonged litigation process with the Queensland Court of Appeal publishing the reasons for dismissing the appeals of two former MFS Investment Management (MFSIM) executives.

MFS Group collapsed in 2008 owing around $2.5 billion.

In a case which had its genesis around the time of the global financial crisis, ASIC had pursued action against MFS Investment Management relating to the misappropriation of $147.5 million of funds that had been held within the company’s Premium Income Fund (PIF) which ASIC said had been used to pay debts owed by other entities in the group.

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ASIC said this week that the Queensland Court of Appeal had dismissed the appeals of MFS officers, Craig Robert White and Guy Hutchings, while an appeal by a former funds manager of PIF, Marilyn Anne Watts had also been dismissed. It said Hutchings and Watts were ordered to pay ASIC’s costs.

In a separate appeal brought by Michael Christodoulou King, the court partially allowed the appeal finding that King had not contravened the Corporations Act as an ‘officer’ of MFSIM at the relevant time. The court found that his contraventions were limited to his being knowingly concerned in MFSIM’s contravention by the misapplication of $130 million of PIF’s money.

The court has given further directions to King and ASIC in relation to the finalisation of his appeal.

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