burned investors send in a killer

  1. 1,508 Posts.
    lol "Asked if they included some well-known Melbourne businessmen, she said: "Some would be described as business people. If you very loosely used the term 'business people'.""

    Burned investors send in a killer

    * Mark Hawthorne
    * April 8, 2008

    THE Melbourne underworld identity Mick Gatto has been asked to intervene in the collapse of the stockbroker Opes Prime by an anonymous group of investors who wish to recoup some of their losses.

    The revelation comes as Opes Prime's director, Julian Smith, was banned from leaving Australia days before he was scheduled to take a holiday in Fiji, and fresh allegations emerged in the Federal Court of behind-the-scenes manipulation and cover-ups in the lead-up to the firm's dramatic collapse.

    Mr Gatto, the man who shot dead Andrew "Benji" Veniamin at a Carlton restaurant in March 2004 and was acquitted of murder on the grounds of self-defence, will fly to Singapore today as the representative of a private group of Opes Prime clients.

    Mr Gatto - and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission - are interested in the transfer of cash and shares between Opes Prime share trading accounts and an account operated by a British Virgin Islands-registered company, which has an office in Singapore.

    Mr Gatto may also visit the British Virgin Islands. He would not say who he was meeting.

    "It's my way or the highway," he said. "These Opes Prime clients can take their chances and lose all their money to lawyers and to the receivers, or they can take their chances with me to extract a return on their behalf. The proof is in the pudding with me. I solve problems, and I can extract a return on their behalf."

    A Melbourne barrister confirmed that Mr Gatto would be travelling overseas to try to track down money and shares related to Opes Prime but would not reveal the names of his clients.

    Asked if they included some well-known Melbourne businessmen, she said: "Some would be described as business people. If you very loosely used the term 'business people'."

    The administrators John Lindholm and Peter McCluskey, of Ferrier Hodgson, will today host six meetings with hundreds of angry Opes clients owed more than $500 million. Their share portfolios have been sold without notice over the past week by Opes's secured lenders - ANZ, Merrill Lynch and Dresdner Kleinwort - which are trying to recover about $1.1 billion.

    ANZ yesterday partly blamed its involvement with the broker for a $1 billion bad debts problem.

    Meanwhile, the Victorian Supreme Court heard yesterday that one of three men allegedly involved in the murder of the Melbourne underworld figure Lewis Moran will testify that it was his accomplice Evangelos Goussis who fired the fatal shot. The man, who cannot be named, will also give evidence that the three were contracted by the underworld figures Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel to kill Moran on March 31, 2004.

    The court heard that Goussis, who has pleaded not guilty, and the others decided to kill Moran as he was enjoying a regular evening drink with a friend.

    Also yesterday Joseph Mansour was jailed for 10 years for his part in a $4.2 million drug trafficking syndicate under Mokbel.

    Mansour pleaded guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court to six charges, including trafficking a large commercial quantity of methamphetamine, and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

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