Archive for the ‘Firepower’ Category

Johnston appears in court. Again.

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The civil case against those who sold tens of millions of dollars worth of worthless Firepower shares continues in the Federal Court in Perth, with Tim Johnston making an appearance yesterday via video link. He originally refused to appear at all.

It is as if nobody can believe what happened and they want to hear all about it all over again.

No wonder when it has been clear all along that Firepower would not have been possible without the help and support of the previous Federal Government and your taxpayer-funded agencies.

Johnston misses court again

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Firepower boss Tim Johnston has declined to appear at a civil trial in Perth where he and other parties are accused of raising funds from investors in breach of the Corporations Act, according to the WA Business News website.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleges Johnston and companies associated with Firepower Holdings Group Ltd offered shares for sale without providing disclosure documents. In the Federal Court in Perth, ASIC lawyer Michael Pearce said Mr Johnston, now living in Queensland, had sent an email explaining he did not propose to turn up in court.

Mr Pearce told Justice John Gilmour he didn’t think anyone expected Mr Johnston to appear, “judging by his past conduct”, but an option was to subpoena him.

More on that lawsuit

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Turns out it was the West Australian that broke that story on the lawsuit. Lots more juicy detail too, including a few more celebrity victims of Firepower. Where will it end?

Another lawsuit?

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

The news from PerthNow website is that some individuals involved in Firepower will soon face a multi-million dollar lawsuit. According to the report, the liquidator Bryan Hughes said he has been helping litigation funder IMF Australia and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission with details surrounding the collapse of Tim Johnston’s failed enterprise.

It is understood IMF is heading a small group of investors who are trying to claw back about $40 million of the $100 million lost in the scam. The claim could target Mr Johnston, former WA Police Minister Gordon Hill and businessman Warren Anderson, according to the report.

My only comment  is that this news seems rather old, given that the $40 million worth of lawsuits have been underway for some time. And my understanding is that the lawsuits are targeted mainly at insurance companies rather than individuals.

But it is always good to remind people that here we are in September 2010 … still no arrests … still no criminal prosecutions.

This is despite Mr Hughes’ reported comments about his own liquidator’s report (handed to ASIC months ago): “The report has uncovered a raft of breaches including fraud, theft, and deception, which warrants prosecution.”

“We have highlighted a number of confessed breaches of Australian law. We have highlighted a number of areas of his evidence that support certain criminal and civil action proceedings.”

House for sale

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Only days after Tim Johnston complained that ASIC had ruined his life (eh? … then where are the criminal charges ASIC has been supposedly working on for the last three years?) Johnston’s wife has put her house up for sale. Sandra Johnston, nee Meeks, purchased the house on the Gold Coast for $4.7 million in late 2006 – at the height of the Firepower fraud – and it was there that Johnston famously returned to from England. The house is described as a “majestic 100 square home of absolute indulgence” that “offers every amenity the successful entrepreneur could wish for”.

Word has it that the Johnstons are now keen to downsize and are shopping around for an apartment in Sydney. The Johnstons’ two daughters are rumoured to favour a transfer from their private university in Perth to a more suitable educational establishment in the east.

The Firepower connection to the debate

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

I was wondering when someone would put two and two together and realise the Firepower connection to the current political debate in Australia. Okay, so it might appear an indirect one at first, but you have got to look at the personalities to understand a bigger picture. Anyway, Michael Evans of the SMH has done the job.

Writers festival and book awards

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I will join a fellow author from this year’s Walkley Book Award longlist at the Sydney Writers Festival. Matt Peacock’s (‘Killer Company’) tells the story of corporate greed and expose the failure of governments and corporate regulators. We will share the stage – on May 23 – with leading business journalist Helen Dalley.

Firepower – the book – was shortlisted for the Walkley Award.

Firepower has also been shortlisted for the Blake Dawson prize for business literature. The winner of the $30,000 book prize will be announced on 27 April.

I always dreamed that being an author would be a whirlwind of events and festivals but the truth is it is my first public event and the book has been out nearly a year. So come along. You too Tim Johnston.

Off to the NSX. Wha?

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Tony Sage-chaired junior explorer International Petroleum has applied to list on the National Stock Exchange (NSX) for small-cap stocks amid its threat to delist from the much bigger Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). The ASX this week blocked International Petroleum’s deal to acquire Eastern Petroleum, which is privately held by colourful, Firepower-linked, businessman Frank Timis, saying the merged entity may not comply with its disclosure obligations. Read more on the unfolding story here and here.

Strike three for Timis

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

The Australian Securities Exchange’s cold shoulder of the controversial Romanian-born entrepreneur Frank Timis means that he has now been effectively declared persona non grata by three of the world’s leading stock exchanges. Read more from The Australian here (though the article fails to mention his connection to Firepower).

ASX rejects backdoor listings

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Australian securities exchange has blocked an attempt by the businessman Frank Timis to conduct back-door listings worth more than $500 million because of fears over his record of poor disclosure. Followers of Firepower will recognise Timis as the man Tim Johnston chairman hooked up with over in London when they formed Green Power Corporation after Firepower went into liquidation back in Australia. Remember the boasts about how investors would get all their money back when Green Power listed in London?

Timis, a Romanian-born Australian, earned the ire of British investors as chairman of Regal Petroleum, which was recently fined £600,000 by the Alternative Investment Market for misleading investors. He had planned to list on the Australian sharemarket through two reverse takeovers of small-cap explorers Global Iron and International Petroleum, both of which are chaired by his friend, Tony Sage, who also owns the A-League soccer club Perth Glory.

According to a press release issued yesterday by International Petroleum the companies intend to retain the Perth lawyer Martin Bennett to fight the move. Bennett was the lawyer in an unrelated recent court judgement that cleared his client Nigel Mansfield of insider trading charges. By coincidence, Mansfield’s co-accused in that case was the underworld figure John Kizon. Kizon, you will recall, was a major shareholder in both Firepower and Green Power through an obscure entity based in a Malasyian tax haven. The West Australian has more on the case here and here.