McIntyre challenges ASIC to use its powers to find where $15 million of his investors’ money went in a failed Bendigo land-banking project and to stop using him as a scapegoat.
The high profile land banking case involving CEO of the 21st Century Group Jamie McIntyre and the sale of property options in land banking projects heads back to court on 5th February for a directions hearing to determine the date for the trial.
Considering the powers they have to trace the money, McIntyre has hit out at ASIC questioning why the corporate watchdog has done nothing to get back $15 million of his investors’ money, which he says was paid to a land banking syndicate for a Bendigo Project called “Acacia Banks and renamed Hermitage”
Investors reportedly invested $28 million into the project to secure options to acquire land lots.
Despite being approved by the council, ASIC has stalled the project by appointing liquidators against the investors’ wishes.
McIntyre said ASIC’s actions have upset and hurt investors.
“Not only have ASIC done nothing to trace and retrieve the funds, but they have also appointed liquidators to the project causing unnecessary losses. ASIC seem not only grossly incompetent at protecting investors, but also strangely strategic at destroying investors’ interests who they are meant to protect ”, he said.
McIntyre claims his company sold approximately $15 million in options in the Acacia Banks project (now known as Hermitage). However, they ceased selling options, as the secretive land banking syndicate wouldn’t provide full transparency regarding the use of funds, which meant 21st Century’s third party risk, was becoming too high had the project not been delivered.
Out of the approximate $28 million the project generated in option sales, McIntyre said his company was to be paid approximately $3.8 million in marketing fees.
He said it cost the Group over $5 million in costs, as consultants had to be paid 5-10%, which is industry typical. Moreover, it carried large overheads of staff, rents, marketing costs, management costs etc.
“Not only has this project been a loss to the Group, but it’s also absolutely appalling that ASIC and Fairfax Media have blatantly misled the public to try and frame me for the losses when the liquidator’s report clearly shows that the money was paid to the developers and never to 21st Century.
“It’s not even a 21st Century Project, so misleading the public by stating that it is, and that I am somehow responsible for what a third party developer does is a joke.”
“21st Century had no involvement in the project or relationship to the developer other than simply being the initial agents, as our due diligence on Bendigo, its location and the location of the project met the expected investor returns.
“We have also and are still willing to step in and acquire the site to ensure it gets developed in order to protect our clients. However, the damage caused by ASIC and Fairfax misleading the public about the truth has caused tens of millions in damages to the Group and put at risk investors getting what they paid for”, he said.
McIntyre suspects ASIC are just lazy and have decided to blame him, as he has a public profile and is an easy target, so they can appease the Government and quickly close the file to avoid simply retrieving the money.
However, others have said there seems to be more to it.
They believe it’s a politically motivated agenda by the Labor party, which is threatened as McIntyre entered politics in 2013 by starting a political party, which he self funded with $600,000 that included polices of wanting to crack down on union corruption.
Consequently, they believe Senator Sam Dastyari a Labor union man was asked to take action against McIntyre and pushed ASIC to frame him.
It has been alleged that Senator Dastyari, who attacked McIntyre at the Senate hearing into land banking has been involved in dodgy secret union slush fund deals according the The Australian report late in 2015.
He is closely linked to Fairfax and it’s believed that all of this is a co ordinated character assassination attack on McIntyre and his business interests to hinder the possible future threat from his political party.
McIntyre is adamant he is innocent and said ASIC can simply get investors’ money back with all the power they have without stopping the project and making matters worse. “I mean why don’t they just do their job”, he asks.
“However, they haven’t and they won’t, as that would prove my innocence. Therefore investors will have to lose their money and I will get blamed despite the evidence clearly proving otherwise”, said McIntyre.
McIntyre said he not going to accept being set up by those that have suspect agendas, regardless of how much power they have.