ASIC, Regulation

SMSF investment firm director charged

ASIC Aryn Hala A One Multi crypto SMSF Rollover

The former director of an unlicensed financial services business who convinced investors to transfer their retirement savings into an SMSF has been charged with nine offences.

A Queensland man has been charged with nine offences following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that revealed the individual had persuaded investors to roll over their retirement funds into SMSFs and then used that money for his own benefit.

The investigation found Aryn Hala of Redbank Plains encouraged more than 60 consumers to deposit around $25 million into the accounts of a company directed by him, A One Multi Services Pty Ltd, between 1 January 2019 and 30 June 2021.

Hala allegedly advised investors to transfer funds from their existing superannuation accounts into newly established SMSFs to loan to A One Multi Services for the purposes of investment, particularly in cryptocurrencies, for which he promised annual returns of 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

Additionally, the investigation revealed he used more than $5.7 million of A One Multi’s money for his and his partner’s personal benefit, including acquiring real property and luxury vehicles in their names. More than $2.4 million had also been transferred from A One Multi to buy crypto-assets.

ASIC successfully sought orders from the Federal Court to shut down the financial services business and prevent its Gold Coast-based directors, Hala and Heidi Walters, from leaving the country.

The orders also directed Hala to transfer the crypto-assets in his name into the names of court-appointed receivers, with the first tranche of crypto-assets held in his name transferred on 25 October 2021.

However, the corporate regulator stated receivers have been unable to recover a large portion of assets provided to A One Multi Services by various investors, particularly those that were transferred to crypto-assets.

Hala has been released on bail and the matter has been adjourned for further mention on 15 April. The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

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