Uproar as ASIC clears man behind Trio scam

JACK W. FLADER, the former Hong Kong businessman exposed as the mastermind of Australia's biggest ever superannuation theft, has been cleared of breaking any Australian laws.

JACK W. FLADER, the former Hong Kong businessman exposed as the mastermind of Australia's biggest ever superannuation theft, has been cleared of breaking any Australian laws.

Despite previously naming Mr Flader the "ultimate controller" of a network of dodgy offshore funds that ripped off $123 million in the Trio Capital scam, the corporate watchdog yesterday said he was in the clear.

"Based on inquiries about Trio to date, ASIC believes there is currently insufficient evidence to prove a breach by him of Australian law," the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said.

Two weeks after a parliamentary committee gave a scathing assessment of regulators' lack of action about the Trio thefts, ASIC defended its continuing investigations into the matter.

John Telford, who lost a disability payout of $600,000 in the collapse, said he was "bowled over" that Mr Flader had escaped authorities for so long. "What I can't understand is that it's public information that he's pulled off various large amounts of capital from around the world ... what boggles my mind is: why haven't they done something more thorough?" he said.

The head of the parliamentary inquiry, Deb O'Neill, said ASIC's statement should not be the end of the matter.

"People want this to be pursued to the very end - it's now the responsibility of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission to investigate," she said.

Mr Flader has become a poster boy for regulator indifference after detailed exposure of his central role in the December 2009 collapse of Trio Capital.

The Herald has reported how Mr Flader enjoyed the fruits of his activities - including luxury sessions at the $1500-a-night Bulgari Resort in Bali and a globetrotting existence visiting 80 destinations over three-and-a-half years - while all the time siphoning off Australian investors' funds.

The Herald has also revealed Mr Flader's links to two other offshore investment scandals - the disgraced British stockbroker Pacific Continental Securities and his role as a defendant in the $US1 billion Derivium scandal in the US.

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