If having your own Wikipedia entry (not self-authored, of course) constitutes making it in this age of celebrity and the internet, Sydney solicitor Chris Murphy isn’t there yet.
There are 10 Chris Murphys on Wikipedia but the biggest client of Opes Prime isn’t one of them.
That will all change in the days ahead because Chris Murphy has already lost his fortune and is now about to be seriously put through the ringer in the full glare of the media. He’s going to need all the support he can get from mates like Alan Jones, Russell Crowe and James Packer.
Fairfax’s Michael West is leading the play on Opes Prime. On Monday he broke the story about the notorious Tricom crosses and today it was the tale of two ANZ executives being sent on gardening leave for facilitating these deals with the increasingly colourful Tricom CEO Lance Rosenberg.
However, West also seems to have a direct line to Murphy, but is not putting the really hard questions to him. Here is the sum total of Murphy’s quotes to West:
Murphy told BusinessDay he had little idea what was going on, “apart from the fact that I’m losing money”.
“I still haven’t had a margin call. I’m just a customer of Opes and I don’t know what they’ve done with my portfolio”.
“I’ve been called a babe in the woods.”
“I would be stunned and it would be against everything which I’ve been told … but my stock had been used to destroy me.”
“The 70% collapse in the price of Challenger has destroyed my valuable portfolio. I just can’t believe that there has been such a betrayal.”
“I don’t know what’s happening to my Challenger shares but I have cause to believe they have been murdered at $2 a share.”
Woe is me, Mr Murphy, but this is just too clever by half.
The Federal Court was told about business links between Murphy and ousted Opes CEO Laurie Emini last Friday. The two are co-investors in a company called Sarah Brown Pty Ltd which is registered at Murphy’s law firm.
The AFR’s Neil Chenoweth, Australia’s finest forensic business journalist, finally nailed the true extent of the business dealings in today’s paper when he revealed that Sarah Brown was a frenetic trader and had drawn loans of $40 million from Opes.
The next journalist who speaks to Murphy should ask him how it was that he was in a high-risk investment vehicle with Laurie Emini, the same man he is now publicly accusing of “murdering” his Challenger shares.
Meanwhile, Murphy needs to get used to the new reality that people like Leo Khouri, the Lebanese muscle car enthusiastic pictured below and featured on the front of The Age’s business section today, are looking for people to blame for their huge losses.
The joint investment blunders of Laurie Emini and Chris Murphy look to be the biggest reason. If they had been margin called early, all of this might have been averted.
Go here for yesterday’s two ABC radio interviews on the Opes collapse.