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Denise Brailey is the one-singlemum-band that helped bring down the Court Government in Western Australia by exposing some dodgy finance brokers that had big links into the Liberal Cabinet. She single-handedly has triggered a Royal Commission and as the scandal goes national she updates us on some more dodgy behaviour.

Leon K Jamieson, partner of Kevin Prince – the recently defeated Liberal Police Minister in the Court government – had relieved the Diocese of Bunbury of $1 million. Graeme Grubb had grabbed a few more “church” offerings to the tune of $1 million and Clifton Partners – reinvented as Knightsbridge Finance – fleeced twice as many dollars from churches, charities and the like.

No-one needed funds around Perth as desperately as Mr Clifton. In October 1999, shortly after Mr Clifton’s “charity work ” became worthy of a mention in Parliament years ago, I discovered a mortgage with TVW Children’s Health Research Pty Ltd as a “lender.” TVW CHR is the company responsible for a very successful fund-raising charity to assist sick children at Princess Margaret Hospital – known as Telethon. Each year it raises nearly $3 Million in funds. It has a Board comprising of the director of Channel Seven and other notables and in 1998 had a member called Leon Ivory. Leon is a partner and co-borrower with Kim Slatyer in a number of projects and Kim just happens to be a multi million dollar borrower with Kim Clifton.

Slatyer also purchased at least one property in default from Global Finance after it went down – and was a business partner of the very influential “tree specialists” and timber merchants – the Bunnings Brothers. One of their property deals is the subject of a complex Ministry of Fair Trading investigation, as to the real estate agents activities in selling the land to the Bunnings/Slatyer consortium (that is another story).

Many of Clifton Partner’s victims were introduced by financial planners and accountants into dreadful pooled mortgage schemes. Consequently retirees, charities and elite schools are now facing ruin or at best “hard times ahead”. ASIC have allowed financial planners to run meetings to offer the “best advice” to retiree victims – lessons for all on “what to do next”. More on that later.

It is important to note that Kim Clifton’s standard answer for numerous names which are on the title when they never invested money – or where people have paid money into Cliftons “trust accounts” and their interest was never recorded on the title – “its a typo error.”

Back to Telethon

Other investors recognised the name Telethon on one of the Clifton mortgages and relayed their suspicions to me in mid October 1999. I immediately notified ASIC and West Australian Newspapers. The reporter rang Clifton and casually asked “what’s going on with the Telethon money? With a cough and splutter, Clifton said he would ring him back. The eventual answer: “it was a typo error.”

To dig deep into the Telethon issue, I rang the Financial Planner, Mr Matthews who was an ex KPMG investment advisor. Matthews had recently set up a new FP business. I asked the same question as the scribe. His answer: “Denise, I can assure you Telethon is a client of KPMG and they have put no money into Clifton’s trust account. No money has exchanged hands!” Hmmmmm – more paper entries?

I then asked who would be receiving interest on the $189,000 loan for the past 7 months in the name of TVWCHR Pty Ltd? The “manager” of the property – a goat farm – was quickly sliding into liquidation. The loan was set up by Clifton in February 1999 and the borrower (we are told) had “done a little time” – had bought two vehicles on dud cheques – the investors were still being paid interest (whose money was that?) – the company folded and slid into liquidation – as they are want to do, in these type of schemes. The Malaysian Government owned the property – mortgaged to a bank! The Manager of the farm was so upset he dumped all the relevant documents and four pages of creditors list on a specifically worded caveat, registered with the titles office in June 1999. It was the written word on record.

Mr Matthews claimed he had no idea of all of the above.

Two strange things happened immediately following this call. The West Australian seemed reluctant to publish – the story never surfaced. Ted Thatcher (ex president of the Financial Planners Association) revealed in another West Australian article that he had left Mr Matthews newly formed FP company because after only a couple of weeks “he had seen things he had been uncomfortable with”. KPMG announced they were vacating the “pooled mortgage” market – hence why ex advisers (such as Matthews) were cast adrift. Thacher had worked for KPMG for ten years. Normally this small article would not have raised suspicion. However, others told me of other loans with TVW etc. The following year, the borrower quietly declared bankruptcy.

I searched the title a second time in December 1999. Sure enough, the other mortgagees were still on there, but Telethon’s $189,000 was replaced by two other investors plus a relative of Clifton. This “transfer” – the fastest in town – occurred “the day after” we alerted Matthews and Clifton we were asking the hard questions in October 1999.

Recently the ex manager of the farm revealed, when questioned, that Clifton had arranged another “buyer” and all the mortgagees were paid out, including him!

Clifton had a loan book of over $160 Million late last year and ASIC allowed Clifton to participate in a “run-out program.” Does this mean run-out of the country with the assets and time to “clean up the books.” The book has decreased to $88 million. Whose mates were paid out and with whose money? Several of the key players including Clifton regrouped in the UK late last year. He has admitted selling his art collection, including his beloved “Blackman.” Shades of Bond? One of the key directors in Knightsbridge is Braysich – ex Bond man. In a Knightsbridge creditors meeting last week, I asked the liquidator John Carello, who is the “lawyer” he keeps referring to as advising: “what is best for the investors?” The answer, in front of several hundred investors – just informed half their capital may be missing in action – was Lee Christiansen. Anyone who reads Paul Barry’s recent book “Going for Broke” may wish to follow up on Mr Christiansen – ex school chum of Craig Bond – who tried to assist Alan Bond with off loading paintings to the South Australian Art Gallery in the early nineties. Mr Christiansen is no stranger to ASIC.

ASIC has embarrassingly endorsed Carello (Christiansen’s mate) as the liquidator with a plan to involve a mysterious Mr Martin as a “rescue plan” for investors. OOOOps!!!! We reported Mr Martin’s previous antics to ASIC – involving alleged fraudulent activities with Mr Clifton – mid last year. ASIC are making too many “mistakes” and blunders. Now ASIC will have to explain to the already confused investors that another plan has to be hatched.

Bring on the National Inquiry into Mortgage Broking practices Australia wide, including ASICs inability to adequately shut down this entire scam in all states. For $137 million per year, I am sure that my team and I could do a better job!

Over 10 charities have been identified in the news reports and in state parliament on numerous occasions, including St Johns Ambulance and the private schools and the Uniting , Catholic and Anglican Churches all had status in this “club,” for up to $1 million each institution. All have been revealed and published except Telethon.

Documents don’t lie, people unfortunately do. Cover-ups appear to have became a way of life. The public deserve better than this. Where is the focus on “public interest?” What set of standards are being observed and ignored?

Footnote: Boyce Garrick were revealed by A Current Affair as running defaulting loans in Queensland, leaving behind a trail of elderly investors who have been without income for up to two years and are unable to retrieve capital. The usual stuff! My Tasmanian members reported that the Association of Independent Retirees in Tassie are running advertisments in their March edition of the AIR mag, to place your life savings with BG’s in Queensland. Just who is minding the shop? And the band plays on!

Perhaps all retiree/investors around Australia should be wearing a “Crikey T Shirt!”

Peter Fray

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