Archive for June, 2009

Still happening

Friday, June 19th, 2009

It may seem that things have been quiet but behind the scenes the Firepower storyline continues to play out. The criminal trial against former CEO John Finnin on an unrelated matter is reportedly due to begin on Monday, June 22, in the County Court in Victoria. He denies the charges and told the Irish Mail-on-Sunday (unavailable online) he was unable to defend himself in public yet, for legal reasons. Finnin has cooperated with authorities investigating Firepower and is scathing in his criticism of conman Tim Johnston, telling the Irish paper Johnston was “charming, like all conmen” and that he, Finnin, would be the chief witness if Johnston ever went on trial. 

Meanwhile one of the heroes of the Firepower story, the Australian international basketball player Jason Smith, has retired from the game. Smith is a charming man who had the courage to be one of the first to stand up to Johnston and it was the saga over his former team, the Sydney Kings, that brought the fraud to a close.

Former police minister sued

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Gordon Hill, the former West Australian police minister has become the first target of investors trying to recover their money from the wreckage of Firepower after he was hit with a $5 million  lawsuit. The West Australian newspaper reports that a Supreme Court writ, filed on behalf of 79 investors by lawyers for litigation funder IMF (Australia), is expected to be the first of several aimed at recovering up to $40 million of the $100 million that mum-and-dad investors ploughed into the firm. Others expected to be targeted in the coming months include the private companies of wealthy property tycoon Warren Anderson and Sydney lawyer Les Stein, both of whom were heavily involved in the company. Among the 79 investors reportedly named on the writ are former Perth Glory part-owner Brett McKeon and other McKeon entities, which invested $280,000. The wife of Quentin Ward, a former bankrupt who arranged for hundreds of small investors to buy Firepower shares, is also among the list of plaintiffs because of a $50,000 investment she made. Mr Ward’s former office worker Deirdre Clark is seeking $50,000. The other big investor was former West Australian newspaper photographer Don Palmer, who allegedly paid $250,000 to Mr Hill’s firm.