20. July 2011 13:09
Former directors of Opes Prime Stockbroking Ltd (OPSL), Lirim (Laurie) Emini and Anthony Blumberg, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday to charges brought by ASIC.
Mr Emini, 48, of Templestowe, Victoria pleaded guilty to:
- two charges of dishonestly using his position as a director of Leveraged Capital Pty Ltd with the intention of gaining an advantage for Riqueza Holdings Limited or himself contrary to s 184(2)(a) Corporations Act;
- one charge of recklessly failing to exercise his powers and discharge his duties as a director of OPSL contrary to s 184(1)(a) Corporations Act.
Mr Blumberg, 44, of Moorabbin, Victoria pleaded guilty to:
- one charge of using his position dishonestly with the intention of gaining an advantage for himself or someone else contrary to s 184(2)(a) Corporations Act.
The plea hearing for Mr Emini and Mr Blumberg continues today.
The case against Mr Julian Smith, 48, of Blackheath, New South Wales, who was also a director of OPSL and Leveraged Capital, has been adjourned for trial in the Supreme Court on 11 April 2012.
OPSL collapsed on 27 March 2008 when administrators Ferrier Hodgson were appointed. Ferrier Hodgson were appointed as liquidators on 15 October 2008. In addition to the criminal investigation undertaken by ASIC following the collapse of OPSL on 27 March 2008, ASIC’s investigation into OPSL has also considered how any return available to OPSL creditors might be maximised.
ASIC entered into a formal mediation process with the OPSL liquidators, ANZ Bank and Merrill Lynch to consider a commercial resolution to claims by ASIC and the administrators.
On 6 March 2009, (see 09-37MR), ASIC announced that that it would provide the necessary releases to allow a settlement offer to be put to OPSL creditors. Following a meeting of creditors on 4 August 2009, (see 09-135AD) the Federal Court approved the Schemes of Arrangement. These schemes are expected to deliver a sum of $253 million to creditors. Dividends exceeding 37 cents have been paid by the scheme administrators.
Editor's note: At the conclusion of the hearing, Mr Emini's bail was extended until the date of his sentencing, which is yet to be fixed. Mr Blumberg did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody.