11 stories this week:


Continuous disclosure reforms block enforcement, ASIC says – 25 March 2021
As declared in February, Treasury has plans to change the Corporations Act to state companies and officers will only be liable for civil penalty proceedings where they acted with “knowledge, recklessness or negligence”. But ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour commented the reform will also make it harder for the regulator to prosecute – as the watchdog currently does not need to prove a company’s knowledge, recklessness or negligence.


ASIC ‘making inquiries’ into coal tester – 25 March 2021
The corporate watchdog is investigating claims a coal laboratory called ALS, inflated quality results on export certificates.


Alleged Ponzi operator Veronica Macpherson poised for return to business – 25 March 2021
Ms Macpherson who was accused of running an alleged Ponzi scheme in Western Australia’s Pilbara region is starting a new business. Ms Macpherson is banned from providing financial services as investigations by ASIC continue into her Macro Group business dealings.


Frenchman takes on Gold Coast cryptocurrency firm after allegedly losing $800k in failed deal – 27 March 2021
A French national is suing an Australian cryptocurrency company over an alleged scam that he claims left him close to $800,000 out of pocket after the market soared. It’s believed to be the first cryptocurrency fraud case of its kind in Australia


MPs call for crackdown on tech firms profiting from pensions scams – 28 March 2021
Tech firms such as Google are accepting payment to advertise scams and then take further payments from regulators to publish warnings – a practice the Work and Pensions committee describes as “immoral’


Australia needs to regulate cryptocurrency market – 29 March 2021
Australia will need regulatory oversight of the domestic digital assets market amid a renewed surge in demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and follow the examples of the US, Europe, Singapore, and Hong Kong which have successfully regulated their digital financial products.


Former NSW police officers claim Sydney underworld figure Abe Saffron orchestrated the Luna Park Ghost Train fire – 29 March 2021
The cause of the 1979 Ghost Train fire that killed seven people has never been determined. Former police have claimed for the first time that Sydney criminal Abe Saffron was responsible and that the lead investigator was corrupt.


Black market vaccine fight as COVID rollout tempts criminals – 30 March 2021
AstraZeneca is urging Australian consumers to steer clear of third-party suppliers claiming they sell the company’s COVID-19 vaccines directly to the public, amid fears counterfeit coronavirus doses are headed for local shores.


ASIC drops fraud charges against Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick – 30 March 2021
The corporate watchdog has dropped all charges against Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick more than five weeks after her foot washed up on the NSW far south coast. ASIC withdrew criminal charges to enable a civil case to proceed.


IBAC phone taps reveal Transclean director discussing payments to train bosse – 30 March 2021
The co-director of a cleaning company accused of paying off senior transport public officials has been caught on tapped phone recordings, discussing payments of several thousand dollars to V/Line’s then chief executive and a Metro Trains manager. IBAC is investigating allegations that Mr Pinder and Mr Bollas pocketed regular cash bribes from Transclean in exchange for granting the company lucrative work. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/transclean-boss-can-t-recall-signing-cheques-for-train-boss-ibac-told-20210331-p57fis.html


How scammers are using outdated laws to rip off investor millions – 30 March 2021
Inexperienced investors are losing their life savings, home deposits and inheritances through a regulatory loop hole. The scams take advantage of an antiquated definition of “sophisticated investor” that allows scheme promoters to sidestep retail protections.