Opes chief honest, court told

Opes Prime director Julian Smith acted honestly in signing a $95 million deal with ANZ during the securities lender and broker's final days, a court has been told.

Opes Prime director Julian Smith acted honestly in signing a $95 million deal with ANZ during the securities lender and broker's final days, a court has been told.

Defence counsel Mark Regan said the dishonesty trial of Mr Smith was not a royal commission into the Opes Prime collapse and urged jurors to "try, if at all possible, to put yourself in Mr Smith's shoes".

Mr Regan told the Victorian Supreme Court on Tuesday that "when it's peeled apart factually ... the contentions or the amount of knowledge that the prosecution say that Mr Smith did have, it won't bear out."

Mr Smith has pleaded not guilty to two charges of dishonestly breaching his duties as director of companies in the Opes Prime group. Each charge carries a maximum jail term of five years.

Opes Prime, which had more than 650 clients, collapsed in March 2008 owing creditors about $630 million.

Mr Regan told the court the evidence will show in the lead-up to signing the lifeline deal with ANZ, that Mr Smith took "reasonable and appropriate steps based on the information that was available to him".

This included going to lawyers Hall & Wilcox, rather than "jumping on a plane to South Africa", he said.

"We say that they [Mr Smith and fellow director Anthony Blumberg] were taking what they regarded to be the prudent steps in the circumstances, consulting lawyers and so forth. We say that that mitigates against dishonesty in this case. It's as simple as that," Mr Regan said.

"The honest director, in the shoes of Mr Smith, signed the co-operation deed as a lifeline."

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleges that as Opes Prime teetered on the brink of collapse in March 2008, Mr Smith wrongly pledged assets belonging to two Opes Prime companies in order to secure the $95 million loan to Leveraged Capital, a company associated with Mr Smith and fellow director Laurie Emini.

The trial, before Victorian Supreme Court judge Simon Whelan, continues.

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