Wheel of jus­tice turn­ing slowly

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - CON­SUMER AF­FAIRS ED­I­TOR

THE bat­tle to bring to jus­tice to those re­spon­si­ble for the Mem­bers Al­liance fi­asco, which saw hun­dreds of NSW fam­i­lies lose money, has taken another twist.

Af­ter Mem­bers Al­liance, a wealth cre­ation scheme, blew up, leav­ing debts of more than $40 mil­lion, sev­eral se­nior mem­bers started a new wealth cre­ation busi­ness called Bench­mark.

The Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion is try­ing to prove that $70,000 in cash was given to Bench­mark to stop the money go­ing to cred­i­tors.

Bench­mark di­rec­tor Liam Young claims he didn’t ask ques­tions when Braiden Marl­bor­ough handed him $70,000 in cash.

The pair were both se­nior em­ploy­ees of Mem­bers Al­liance. Braiden’s fa­ther Richard was charged last month over sep­a­rate claims re­lat­ing to Mem­bers Al­liance.

“The Marl­bor­oughs were a fam­ily of means,” Mr Young told an ASIC in­ves­ti­ga­tor and lawyer.

“I don’t ask them where they get their money from.”

In doc­u­ments ob­tained from the Queens­land Supreme Court in pro- ceed­ings to wind up Bench­mark, ASIC said it sus­pected the $70,000 was fraud­u­lently di­verted by Richard Marl­bor­ough so it didn’t end up be­ing paid to cred­i­tors.

Asked what in­quiries he had made about the original source of the cash, Mr Young said it was rea­son­able to as­sume it was Braiden’s or his mother’s, not­ing he drove an As­ton Martin Van­quish while at Mem­bers Al­liance. Mr Young said “when a gen­tle­man is pre­vi­ously driv­ing an As­ton Martin, and a fam­ily that you see driv­ing around in Fer­raris and Mercedes Benzs and the like, pro­vides you loans of money … I had an as- sump­tion they had suf­fi­cient means.” ASIC asked if he was “com­fort­able” about Richard lend­ing Bench­mark money and driv­ing a Bent­ley while Mem­bers Al­liance cred­i­tors were owed money.

“I un­der­stand he owed money,” Mr Young said, “but … I be­lieved all his af­fairs were struc­tured in a man­ner that he was, you know, in a sense a straw man with, with noth­ing be­hind him.”

ASIC and Mr Young have reached an agree­ment that will see six Bench­mark com­pa­nies wound up.

Mean­while, the reg­u­la­tor is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­volve­ment of Mr Young, Richard Marl­bor­ough and his daugh­ter-in-law Maighan Brown.

They strongly deny al­le­ga­tions they have breached the Cor­po­ra­tions Act. No al­le­ga­tion of wrong­do­ing has been made against Braiden. In the wind­ing-up pro­ceed­ings, ASIC also al­leges Richard de­ceived devel­op­ers of a Western Syd­ney hous­ing es­tate into pay­ing $240,000 in sales com­mis­sions into a com­pany con­trolled by him rather than to Mem­bers Al­liance. He de­nies it.

Maighan Brown has turned her­self into a triath­lete.

Richard Marl­bor­ough and (be­low) Maighan Brown with hus­band Braiden Marl­bor­ough.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.