Opes Prime - Criminal Proceedings - 18 July 2011

18 July 2011

Laurie Emini and Anthony Blumberg appeared before Justice David Beach in Court 1 of the Supreme Court of Victoria. As expected from representations to the directions hearings, they pleaded guilty to amended charges.

Emini 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 2001;
  • One charge of recklessly failing to exercise his powers and discharge his duties as a director of Opes Prime Stockbroking Limited (OPSL) contrary to s.184(1)(a) Corporations Act 2001.

Blumberg 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 2001.

In an agreed statement of facts presented to the hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Dr Gregory Lyon SC, indicated that control was taken of Riqueza in 2006 in order to provide "financial engineering" via the Opes Prime balance sheet in breach of ASX Rules to enable Leveraged Capital to continue to operate despite a reduction in its borrowing limit by ANZ Bank.

Shares deposited with Leveraged Capital in exchange for loans were also used via this route to cover the margin position for Opes Prime's largest client, Chris Murphy who had a business relationship with Leveraged Capital. This was carried out in accordance with an agreement struck with Mr Murphy that there would be no margin requirements. "You don’t have to worry as we will always cover you if you go into margin anyway,” Emini had said in an email to Mr Murphy.

Dr Lyon called for a sentence at the bottom of the range for Emini, praising the "remarkable" co-operation he had given authorities since the collapse. He went further and stated, "It is submitted by the Commonwealth that he is entitled to the maximum discount". He then called for Emini to serve between 12 and 17 months' jail before being eligible for parole. He also indicated that Blumberg should serve between 6 and 12 month's jail, but stated that the Crown would not oppose a defence submission that he be jailed for less than 6 months.

The case against Julian Smith was adjourned for trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria on 11 April 2012.

Read more about this topic:  Opes Prime, Criminal Proceedings

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