11/16/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/15/2022 18:27
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Former van Eyk Research Pty Ltd CEO Mark Peter Thomas has been sentenced to one year and three months' imprisonment, to be served by way of an Intensive Correction Order, for using his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly obtaining an advantage for himself.
As part of his sentence, Mr Thomas was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service.
Between about 31 January 2014 and 20 February 2014, Mr Thomas dishonestly used his position as director of New Zealand-based van Eyk Research subsidiary Blueprint Investment Management Limited (Blueprint) by recommending and facilitating Blueprint investing nearly $5 million in a separate fund, the Wholesale Enhanced Income Fund. The funds were then loaned to another company, TAA Melbourne Pty Ltd, to purchase an interest in van Eyk Research, of which Mr Thomas was also CEO. By doing this, Mr Thomas used his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself.
These transactions prevented a third party from gaining control of van Eyk Research, ensuring that Mr Thomas was able to remain as CEO and Chief Investment Officer of van Eyk Research .
In sentencing Mr Thomas, Judge Bourke described his conduct as 'complex and sophisticated', and noted that Mr Thomas 'breached his position of trust and responsibility'. Judge Bourke also observed that, although there was no investor loss, Mr Thomas 'exposed managed funds to risk.'
Judge Bourke took into consideration Mr Thomas' guilty plea, the loss of his career in financial services, and that as a result of his conviction he will be banned from managing a corporation for five years.
Mr Thomas was sentenced on 14 November 2022 at the New South Wales District Court, after previously pleading guilty to breaching his directors' duties on 31 May 2022 (22-123MR).
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following a referral from ASIC.
Mr Thomas was convicted of breaching s184 of the Corporations Act 2001, which at the time of the offending, carried a maximum penalty of $340,000 or five years imprisonment, or both.