Wheel of justice turning slowly
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.