By now it is obvious – the money in the Alpha Strategic Fund – now named the Astarra Strategic Fund – has been stolen. Who was the actual controller of this theft and who was “just following orders” has yet to be judicially determined – but Shawn Richard – the front-man for this mess in Australia – put forward (under privilege) the Nuremburg defense: he was just following orders from Jack Flader in Hong Kong.
More interestingly he testified that he paid large undisclosed commissions to financial planners – sometimes going under the rubric of entirely undocumented loans and sometimes called “marketing allowances”. The loans were particularly peculiar – after all when was the last time a financial institution “lent” you a million dollars based on a handshake with no documentation and not recorded in any accounts?
Anyway Ross Tarrant – who I gather perceives he has done nothing wrong – was the recipient of “marketing allowances”. He runs a large financial planning firm in Wollongong NSW. The local paper has reported that he has come out fighting. This may be the only time in my life I have quoted the Illawarra Mercury with approval – but this deserves to be quoted in full…
Tarrants managing director Ross Tarrant has broken his silence on bombshell claims his company accepted secret, illegal kickbacks from failed fund manager Trio Capital.
A NSW Supreme Court hearing last week was told Tarrants allegedly accepted $840,000 worth of secret payments last year as an incentive to invest clients' money in the failed venture.
In a statement released yesterday, Mr Tarrant described the money as a "marketing allowance" and said while the firm did not normally accept commissions, the one-off payment helped the firm survive the global financial crisis.
"During ... one of the greatest financial crises of our time, the receipt of this once-off marketing allowance from Astarra enabled Tarrants to weather the GFC without shedding a job," Mr Tarrant said.
"After receiving the marketing allowance from Astarra, Tarrants returned to a 98 per cent fee-for-service position."
I do not think this needs any embellishment.
(PS. For those that do not know the Mercury is a small – usually reactionary – local paper - which - given the style - I incorrectly thought was News Corp)