mick gatto s singapore opes hunt begins

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    Now why would Tony Mokbel's accountant join the hunt??

    By a staff reporter with AAP

    Former underworld identity Mick Gatto and a group of business associates are holding court in Singapore's Shangri-La Hotel in a bid to hunt down more than $1 billion worth of assets they believe are hidden inside collapsed stockbroker Opes Prime, reports The Age.

    Accountant to Tony Mokbel, Michael Hymer, was preparing to join Mr Gatto yesterday, reports The Australian. Mr Hymer has been Mr Mokbel's accountant for more than 10 years and is also linked to Opes director Laurie Emini, reports the paper. He is believed to have invested $1.5 million of his fortune in Opes shares.

    Meanhwile, Jay Moghe, the Singapore-based associate of Opes and the sole director and shareholder in Riqueza, was flying back from a Hong Kong conference for the meeting, Mr Gatto said.

    On Tuesday Opes administrator Ferrier Hodgson said that Riqueza appeared to be the ultimate cause behind the Melbourne-based broker's collapse.

    Mr Moghe was quoted in the press as flying back from Macau to Singapore because of concerns for his family's safety.

    "I don't know why he has come back in a panic,"said Mr Gatto. "He must have a guilty conscience," he told The Australian.

    "It makes me sick to hear comments that I would hurt his wife and kids. I don't know where he would get that from. I would never hurt wives or children. I'm upset at hearing that sort of talk," said Mr Gatto.

    He said directors of other Opes-linked companies, Gordon Browne and Raj Maiden, had agreed to meet today, reports The Age.

    The men deny they have, or control, any of the missing funds

    Nevertheless Mr Gatto and his associates, Matt Tomas and John Khoury, claimed they were close to "doing a deal" with Singapore representatives that would recover large amounts, according to the paper.

    "There are properties involved," Mr Khoury told The Age. "We are way in front of (liquidators) Ferriers and Deloittes, all they are doing is selling shares and we are on to assets, meaning property."

    He then said "don't worry about how we are going to get the money. We aren't here for the noodles."

    Mr Gatto is believed to be organising a class action in a bid to get back money from Opes owed to his friends and associates.

    But a number of people involved in the official administration of Opes have doubts about what Mr Gatto's involvement can achieve during his visit to Singapore.

    Administrator John Lindholm told a news conference, "I don't believe it'll have any effect on the work we have to do... the assets are owned by the companies. We have legal remedies to recover (any) of the assets there."

    Later in the day, Mallesons lawyer Tony Troiani, who is working with Ferrier Hodgson also said, "for the record, Mr Gatto is not acting as agent for the administrator," reports The Age.

    Nevertheless, Mr Gatto has since launched the internet-based Opes Crime Fund, where former Opes account holders are asked to register their details, including their name and telephone number, reports the paper.

    It is then understood an associate of Mr Gatto will call them back.

    While Mr Gatto said that he could not reveal the amount of money he was looking to recover, he did say that his clients were missing millions of dollars after the Opes collapse.

    Mr Gatto added that the value of his clients' missing holdings would probably be greater than the amount already publically declared, but refused to name any of the clients he was representing.

    "These Opes Prime clients can take their chances and lose all their money to lawyers and to receivers, or they can take their chances with me to extract a return of their behalf," Mr Gatto told Fairfax press on Monday.

    "The proof is in the pudding with me. I solve problems... it's my way or the highway," he said.

    Mr Gatto said he did not have any personal money tied up with Opes, but many of his friends had millions of dollars frozen inside the collapsed stockbroker.

    "The game-plan is to track down missing money overseas," Mr Gatto said. "I reckon it's over $1 billion, and I have a good track record of tracking things down. You can run but you can't hide," he said.

    "It's not just Singapore, we're going to be darting around all different countries... all roads lead to Rome, and where ever [the money trail] will take us, we will go," Mr Gatto told 3AW.

    Mr Gatto, who has held meetings with investors at Society restaurant in Melbourne's Bourke Street over the past week, would not reveal the countries he planned to visit or how long he would be away.

    Mr Gatto's private company, Arbitrations & Mediations, has in the past been engaged to deal with feuds on Melbourne construction sites.

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