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14-108MR ASIC takes civil action against Astra Resources and its directors

Wednesday 21 May 2014


ASIC has started legal action against Astra Resources PLC (Astra Resources) and its directors, alleging the company illegally raised more than $7.6 million from almost 300 Australian investors between September 2011 and September 2012.

ASIC’s civil proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia are against Astra Resources, directors Jaydeep Biswas and Silvana De Cianni, and former director Barrie Meerkin. Astra Resources subsidiary, Astra Consolidated Nominees Pty Ltd (Astra Nominees), is also facing legal action.

ASIC is seeking declarations of contravention against the companies and disqualification orders against Jaydeep Biswas and Barrie Meerkin, both of Brisbane, and Adelaide-based Silvana De Cianni.

It is alleged Astra Nominees made offers of Astra Resources shares while Astra Resources distributed share application forms to investors.

ASIC alleges that funds were raised from investors in Australia in breach of the Corporations Act 2001, which requires a prospectus or disclosure document to be provided to investors so that they have all the information they need to make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase shares.

ASIC alleges Jaydeep Biswas, Barrie Meerkin and Silvana De Cianni failed to take reasonable steps as directors to prevent the illegal fundraising.

ASIC is seeking orders to have Astra Resources and Astra Nominees inform affected shareholders that they may elect to have the share purchase contracts set aside and claim a refund or damages.

The proceedings are listed for a directions hearing in the Federal Court in Adelaide on 3 June 2014.


Background


Astra Resources, which is London-based and has an office in Adelaide, claims to control an extensive global portfolio of mining projects.

Download ASIC's letter to investors potentially affected by ASIC's legal action (PDF 31 KB)

Download ASIC's statement of claim (this does not include the list of investors contained in an attachment to the statement of claim, which alleges that an amount of about $7.55 million was raised from 287 investors).

Editor's note:
At the initial directions hearing on 3 June 2014 the court set a trial date of 1 December 2014.

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