30/04/2008 - 22:00

Lift, Opes fallout spreads

30/04/2008 - 22:00

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The fallout from the failure of Lift Capital Partners and Opes Prime Group is spreading, with at least four Perth company directors having a big parcel of shares sold as a result of their involvement with the east coast margin lenders.

Lift, Opes fallout spreads

The fallout from the failure of Lift Capital Partners and Opes Prime Group is spreading, with at least four Perth company directors having a big parcel of shares sold as a result of their involvement with the east coast margin lenders.

Cazaly Resources Ltd disclosed this week that director Nathan MacMahon’s stake had been cut by the “involuntary sale” of 1.95 million shares.

The shares were sold pursuant to a secured creditor of Opes Prime exercising its rights.

Mr McMahon is pursuing actions to recover the shares, which he says were disposed without his consent or authority. The amount of shares sold represent just under 29 per cent of Mr McMahon’s total stake in the gold explorer, worth $351,000.

It followed a similar announcement by Equinox Minerals Ltd, which disclosed that most of chief executive Craig Williams’ stake had been sold by Merrill Lynch as a result of links to Lift. Equinox said Merrill Lynch had sold 4.1 million Equinox shares, worth about $20.8 million.

It is understood the shares were those used by Mr Williams to secure a Lift Capital margin loan. Merrill Lynch was the main funder of Lift Capital.

Mr Williams advised that notice was given to the administrator of Lift Capital and Merrill Lynch that he did not authorise or consent to the sale of the relevant shares

“It now appears that Merrill Lynch ignored such notice,” Equinox said in a statement.

Paladin Energy chairman Rick Crabb has suffered a similar fate. Merrill Lynch has sold 6.4 million Paladin shares worth $29 million that Mr Crabb had used to secure a margin loan.

“The shares were disposed of without Mr Crabb’s consent or authority and Mr Crabb is currently pursuing legal action to recover these shares,” Paladin said in a statement.

Paladin company secretary and Deep Yellow director Gillian Swaby also has a big portion of her personal wealth caught up in the Lift collapse.

Merrill Lynch has already sold 2.1 million Deep Yellow shares that she had used to secure a margin loan.
In all cases, no margin call had been made under the facilities and the directors have offered to repay their loans.

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