ASIC, Business News, Investments

Mayfair regains asset control

Mayfair 101 James Mawhinney ASIC Supreme court of Victoria Liquidators

Mayfair 101 has regained control of contested assets after reaching a settlement with liquidators appointed nearly four years ago.

Mayfair 101 has regained control of 80 per cent of assets that liquidators were seeking to control, with the latter abandoning all claims against the firm, its managing director and related companies.

Mayfair 101 managing director James Mawhinney said liquidators appointed to IPO Wealth Holdings, a member of the Mayfair Group, had reached a settlement in July 2022 to abandon all claims against Mawhinney and reinstate Mayfair 101 over the assets.

While the settlement was approved by the Victorian Supreme Court in November 2022, the terms of the settlement restricted any public announcement until the assets were fully reassigned back to IPO Wealth Holdings.

The settlement follows a dispute about the actions of the IPO Wealth Fund raised by the fund’s trustee, Vasco Trustees.

After the fund raised about $120 million from wholesale clients between 2017 and 2020, in May 2020 Vasco Trustees alleged Mawhinney transferred $18 million worth of assets to the British Virgin Islands to the detriment of the fund’s unitholders and appointed receivers to the fund.

Mawhinney said he informed the trustee and receivers that while they had identified a change in assets on the group’s balance sheet, they had not accounted for a corresponding change in liabilities and the assets in question were actually paid for.

Subsequent to this, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) applied to join the case as a ‘friend of the court’ and supported actions by the trustee and liquidators to force the group into liquidation, according to Mawhinney.

“This is a monumental settlement. The liquidators have abandoned all claims against me and left Mayfair 101 with the majority of the assets. ASIC relied upon the liquidators’ mistaken claims to attack our business, causing harm to hundreds of innocent Australians,” Mawhinney said.

“The settlement makes clear that ASIC, the liquidators and Vasco misrepresented the affairs of the companies and mischaracterised my conduct and my character. They overrode the formal written directions of IPO Wealth’s unitholders – who voted on putting Mayfair back in control of the assets – in favour of their own agenda.

“The liquidators have racked up more than $5 million in fees, they subjected me to seven days of public examinations and now they relinquish the vast majority of the assets they once asserted ownership of. This is a grave injustice for IPO Wealth’s unitholders considering the liquidators and trustee get paid ahead of unitholders.”

In previous legal action, Mawhinney had a 20-year ban on advertising investments and raising funds overturned and has commenced defamation action against ASIC.

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