The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has moved to shut down unlicensed financial services business A One Multi Services Pty Ltd, which is suspected to be engaging in unlawful activity.
ASIC successfully obtained interim orders and injunctions from the Federal Court in Queensland against A One Multi and its Gold Coast-based directors Aryn Hala and Heidi Walters to protect investors.
It is alleged Mr Hala represents to investors that he can help them invest their superannuation in a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) and then loan the money in their SMSF to A One Multi. ASIC alleges Mr Hala told investors that they would receive annual investment returns of over 20%.
Between 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2021, more than 60 consumers deposited approximately $25 million into A One Multi’s accounts. ASIC alleges that Mr Hala has used more than $5.7 million of A One Multi’s money for his and Ms Walters’ personal benefit, including through acquiring real property and luxury vehicles in their names. In addition, more than $2.4 million has been transferred from A One Multi to buy crypto-assets.
On 21 October 2021, the Court found there was a need to protect the investors, and potentially others, and made the following orders:
- an order putting A One Multi into the receivership of John Ross Lindholm and Timothy James Michael (the receivers);
- asset preservation orders against Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi;
- an order requiring Mr Hala to transfer crypto-assets in his name to the receivers;
- orders requiring the disclosure of information to ASIC against each of Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi, including in relation to the crypto-asset holding;
- travel restraint orders for Mr Hala and Ms Walters.
On 25 October 2021, the first tranche of crypto-assets held in Mr Hala’s name was transferred to the receivers. On 1 November 2021, the Court made further orders requiring the defendants to attend an ASIC office to facilitate the transfer of remaining crypto-assets held or controlled by the defendants to the receivers.
The orders were made pending a final hearing into the conduct of Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi. The regulator moved swiftly to obtain the orders given ease with which crypto-assets can be transferred or transacted.
ASIC’s investigation into Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi continues.