Trio Capital investment manager banned

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ASIC has permanently banned former director of Astarra Asset Management Pty Ltd (AAM) Eugene Liu, from providing financial services. The banning comes after it discovered dishonest and misleading conduct during its on-going investigation into the collapse of Trio Capital.

Mr Liu was a director and chief investment strategist of AAM – which was appointed by Trio Capital Ltd (Trio) as the investment manager of the assets of Astarra Strategic Fund (ASF) from 2006 to 2009, when Trio collapsed.

The ASIC investigation found Mr Liu dishonest conduct with respect to incorrect statements made in the ASF Product Disclosure Statement

  • dishonest conduct and conduct which was misleading or likely to mislead regarding a research report about ASF
  • dishonest conduct in receiving more than $388,041 in payments outside his salary, as a reward for his involvement in the investment of ASF assets in certain funds; and
  • dishonest conduct and conduct which was misleading or likely to mislead in hiding where ASF investment money would ultimately be placed.

The banning comes after Illawarra lobby group Victims of Financial Fraud Inc. (VOFF) made serious allegations regarding inadequate investigations by ASIC, AFP, and the ACC into people who were part of the criminality, or the whereabouts of the fraudulently obtained Trio Capital investments.

VOFF sent out a statement on Tuesday, demanding a response from regulators about the current status of their investigation into the Trio Capital fraud.

At this point, enforcement action has been taken against directors of Trio, its investment manager, various financial planners who recommended Trio and Trio’s auditor. More than 10 individuals have either been jailed, banned from providing financial services, disqualified from managing corporations or have agreed to remove themselves from participating in the financial services industry for a combined total of more than 50 years. Trio investment manager and co-director of AAM with Liu, Shawn Richard, was jailed for 3 years and 9 months, in August 2011.

Liu is currently exercising the right to appeal ASIC’s decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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