SFO launches investigation over failed financial firm and alleged actions of director

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened an investigation into a failed investments firm and its director after a complaint from the company’s liquidator.

Options Trading and Investments NZ Limited (Options Trading) and Tiavare Richard Curtis Joseph are now facing an official probe by the financial crime and corruption agency, a statement by the SFO confirmed today.

Anyone who has had dealings with Options Trading or its director, who is known in the community as Richard and Ritchie Wineera, and has information which could be relevant to the SFO’s investigation was asked to contact [email protected]

No further comment was made by the often tight-lipped SFO while its investigation is under way.

Joseph did not immediately reply to requests for comment from the Herald.

The Porirua company, incorporated in April 2015, purported to offer investment services to its clients. However, the Herald understands Options Trading investors grew concerned when payments were missed and found neither the director nor company was registered to provide financial advice or services after checking with the Financial Markets Authority.

Waterstone Insolvency’s Damien Grant was appointed as liquidator to the company by the High Court at Auckland last year.

In his third report from July, Grant said he had lodged a complaint with the SFO “in relation to actions undertaken by the director of the Company”.

The report added Joseph has “failed to comply with statutory notices issued by the director to attend an interview under oath, provide the liquidator with information, and documents of the company”.

“As a consequence of this, the liquidator has filed proceedings in the High Court against the director of the company; the liquidator is in the process of obtaining subservice in relation to the above-mentioned legal proceedings,” it reads.

Grant’s report also said he has analysed the bank statements of the firm, conducted a tracing exercise to identify payments of interest and is in the process of identifying deposits made by investors, and payments received by investors.

“At this stage it is unclear whether there will be a distribution to any class of creditor,” it said.

One investor earlier told the Herald they were promised their $82,868 investment would attract 16 per cent returns as a “secured high-risk return investment”.

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