PRIME TRUST ACTION GROUP – MEDIA RELEASE
The Prime Trust Action Group (PTAG) today welcomed the news that Receivers, appointed by various lenders to Prime Trust assets, were to subject to public examination a number of present and former directors of the responsible entity, Australian Property Custodian Holdings Limited (APCH), as well as other involved parties.
PTAG also welcomes the excellent article by Mr Nick Lenaghan which appeared in today’s Australian Financial Review and which is reproduced below.
PTAG understands that the main purpose of the public examinations will be to obtain further information in relation to the management restructure and transfer of the management rights in late 2007. However, we would also like to see questions asked regarding the conduct of APCH in relation to the payment of a listing fee of approximately $33 million and its disclosure in a number of offer documents as to how the Trust would be able to pay distributions to unit holders.
PTAG believes that unit holders were enticed to invest on the basis of misleading statements and notes the omission that the level of forecast distributions could only be paid, in major part, out of unrealised gains from property revaluations. PTAG believes that the payment of distributions from capital was never queried by the auditor of the Trust’s financial statements, notwithstanding that it appeared to clearly contradict the accounting policies disclosed in the financial statements.
PTAG believes that there also appears to have been a culture within APCH of using the Trust as a means of transferring funds and value to entities associated with Mr. Bill Lewski, the former Managing Director of APCH, to the very great detriment of unit holders. If proved, this is in breach of the statutory obligations of both APCH and its present and former directors.
As a result of the alleged misconduct, many unit holders have lost a substantial part of their life savings and some are also of an age that does not provide an opportunity to allow them to recover their financial position.
PTAG calls upon ASIC to use its powers to ensure that the matters raised by unit holders are pursued to the fullest extent. PTAG notes that the potential losses to Prime Trust unit holders of $500 million dwarf those suffered by Westpoint investors. If the allegations raised are proven, they represent a major threat to the effective management of financial markets and the confidence of investors that the funds they entrust to others is properly protected by the law.
Further information about this matter is available from the PTAG website: www.primetrustactiongroup.com.
Any enquiries on this matter may also be directed to the following PTAG representatives:
Roger Pratt 0413 592330
Don Steel 0438 642887
Steve O’Reilly 0403 894019