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13-158MR ASIC to press ahead with case against Storm Financial founders

Friday 28 June 2013


ASIC today welcomes the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss an application by Storm Financial founders Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis seeking summary dismissal of ASIC’s case against them.

The decision means ASIC can pursue its civil penalty proceedings alleging the executive directors breached their directors’ duties.

ASIC is seeking to ban the Cassimatises from the financial services industry and disqualify them from managing companies, as well as the payment of pecuniary penalties.

ASIC will now be asking the court to implement a timetable for these proceedings to be progressed to trial.

‘Since Storm’s collapse ASIC has been seeking compensation for investors as well as pursuing regulatory action against those companies and individuals intrinsically involved in implementing the Storm model,’ ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said.

In May 2013 ASIC secured $1.1 million in compensation on behalf of two former Storm investors, Barry and Deanna Doyle (refer 13-122MR).

ASIC has also appealed a recent decision of the Federal Court to approve the settlement between former Storm Financial clients and Macquarie Bank Limited. ASIC’s challenge is not to the amount of the settlement, rather to the fairness of the settlement distribution among all of the class action members who are entitled to participate in it (refer 13-120MR). This appeal will be heard by the Full Court of the Federal Court in Brisbane on 5 August 2013.

And last year ASIC and CBA reached an agreement for the bank to provide up to $136 million in compensation for Storm investors who borrowed with the bank (refer 12-227MR).


Background


The Cassimatis matter will return to court for a directions hearing on 11 July 2013, at which time the court will order a timetable to progress the proceedings to trial and also hear argument on the question of costs arising from the court’s decision to dismiss the defendants’ application.

Editor's note 1:
The directions hearing has been rescheduled to 24 July 2013.

Editor's note 2:
At the directions hearing on 24 July 2013 the court ordered that the Cassimatises pay ASIC's costs of the unsuccessful summary judgment application. Orders have also been made for a programming timetable, based upon a draft timetable prepared by ASIC, to progress the proceedings to trial. Under these orders, ASIC's affidavit material is to be served by 16 October 2013. The Cassimatises' affidavit material is due on 27 February 2014.

Editor's note 3:
On 28 August 2013 at a directions hearing before Justice Reeves concerning the Cassimatises strike out application, his Honour brought the hearing date for the application forward to 10 Sept 2013. It was originally listed for 18 Oct 2013.

ASIC's dedicated Storm website has more information on the proceedings.


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