22/08/2008 - 15:13

ASIC appeals Westpoint promoter sentence

22/08/2008 - 15:13

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The corporate watchdog is requesting prosecutors consider an appeal following today's 12-month suspended prison sentence handed down to former Westpoint promoter Neil Burnard.

The corporate watchdog is requesting prosecutors consider an appeal following today's 12-month suspended prison sentence handed down to former Westpoint promoter Neil Burnard.

It is understood the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is disspointed with the sentence handed down to the New South Wales man for his role in the collapsed Westpoint group.

ASIC has requested the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to consider lodging an appeal.

Mr Burnard was today sentenced to 12 month imprisonment, suspended on condition he be of good behaviour for the duration of the sentence.

In may this year, Mr Burnard was found guilty by a jury in the NSW District Court on nine criminal charges following an ASIC investigation into Paletia Pty Ltd, formerly Kebbel (NSW) Pty Ltd.

The investigation formed part of a broader inquiry into the collapse of Westpoint.

"Mr Burnard was charged under the Crimes Act of NSW of obtaining a financial advantage for five Westpoint mezzanine companies ... by making or publishing statements that he was a director of 'Kebbel Investment Bank' between 1 July 2003
and 30 November 2004; this entity did not exist," ASIC said.

The nine charges Mr Burnard was convicted on relate to six investors who invested a total of $1.17 million.

Below is the full announcement:

 

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will request the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to consider lodging an appeal following today's sentencing of former Westpoint promoter, Mr Neil Austin Burnard. Mr Burnard, of Sydney, New South Wales, was sentenced in the New South Wales District Court to 12 months imprisonment suspended on condition he be of good behaviour for the period of the sentence. He was also fined $50,000.

On 6 May 2008, Mr Burnard was found guilty by a jury on nine criminal charges arising from ASIC's investigation into the affairs of Kebbel (NSW) Pty Ltd, now known as Palentia Pty Ltd, which formed part of a broader enquiry into the collapse of the Westpoint Group of Companies.

Mr Burnard was charged under the Crimes Act of NSW of obtaining a financial advantage for five Westpoint mezzanine companies; Ann Street Mezzanine Pty Ltd, York Street Mezzanine Pty Ltd, Mount Street Mezzanine Pty Ltd, Bayview Heritage Mezzanine Pty Ltd and Emu Brewery Mezzanine Pty Ltd by making or publishing statements that he was a director of 'Kebbel Investment Bank' between 1 July 2003 and 30 November 2004; this entity did not exist.

Mr Burnard organised and attended promotional seminars at which investors were persuaded to invest in Westpoint mezzanine companies. The money belonging to the investors who gave evidence at the trial was placed at risk, and ultimately most of the funds were lost in the Westpoint collapse. Investors were afforded none of the protections which come from placing funds with a bank.

The nine charges on of which Mr Burnard was convicted relate to six investors who invested a total of $1,175,000.

Mr Burnard pleaded not guilty to the charges on 21 April 2008.

The matter was prosecuted by the CDPP.

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