Former ASIC lawyer gets financial services ban

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The Federal Court in Melbourne has banned a former Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) lawyer and her husband from giving financial advice.

Vanessa Ash and her husband Bradley Grimm have been banned from dispensing financial services for 20 and 10 years, respectively, after the Melbourne court found the couple stole money from their clients at Ostrava Equities. The owner alleged through a court appointed administrator that the couple had defrauded him of over $800,000 over a four-month period.

Ash was an ASIC lawyer between 2000 and 2009.

Early in April the couple made headlines when they were investigated over their handling of the property of a Parkinson’s afflicted client. In 2014 they had moved into his huge mansion in Kew while the owned was in a nursing home.

“ASIC will not tolerate this kind of egregious misconduct,” said ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer, a report from the Sydney Morning Herald noted.

Sue Littleton, the court appointed administrator accused the couple of transferring funds from the owner’s superannuation fees in a series of payments to BankWest accounts operated by their group of companies.

The SMSF company as well as eight other associated firms have been wound up.

Ash and Grimm have also been disqualified from managing corporations for 15 and seven years, respectively.

The court also found the husband and wife in breach of their duties as company directors and that they gave misleading statements to clients.

Being a lawyer who formerly worked for ASIC, Ash “either knew, or ought to have known” the standard of conduct required by law, said Justice Davies.
Meanwhile, Grimm’s actions were “deliberate and in contumelious disregard of the law,” the judge said.

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