Ex-van Eyk CEO pleads guilty

van Eyk Research Thomas

Nearly eight years after van Eyk Research’s closure, its former CEO has pleaded guilty to using his position to dishonestly gain an advantage for himself.

Former van Eyk Research chief executive Mark Thomas has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using his position as a director with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself.

Thomas, of Kanimbla, New South Wales, made the plea in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on 31 May in relation to a matter being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following an investigation and referral from ASIC.

He was charged on 26 March 2021, following an investigation by ASIC, and appeared in court on 18 May 2021 in relation to four charges, with the matter being adjourned on a number of occasions during 2021 and 2022.

Following the hearing on 31 May, ASIC stated that in February 2014, Thomas dishonestly used his position as director of Blueprint Investment Management Limited, a New Zealand-based subsidiary of van Eyk Research, to facilitate an investment of nearly $5 million by Blueprint in a separate fund, the Wholesale Enhanced Income Fund.

“The funds were then loaned to another company, TAA Melbourne Pty Ltd, to purchase an interest in van Eyk Research,” the corporate watchdog said.

“These transactions prevented a third party from gaining control of van Eyk Research, of which Mr Thomas was the CEO, ensuring that Mr Thomas maintained control of the company’s affairs and strategy.

“By doing this, Mr Thomas used his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself.”

The matter will return to the court for mention on 1 July, at which time a sentencing date is expected to be set, with the maximum penalty for this offence a $340,000 fine or imprisonment for five years, or both.

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