Katy Gallagher and Stuart Robert demand investigation into Greywolf Resources on Q+A, after Australians lost millions

Shadow Deputy Treasurer Stuart Robert has asked the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to open an investigation into Greywolf Resources.

Dozens of Australians have lost their hard-earned life savings investing in the so-called mining exploration business, which is said to have buildings and leases for land containing gems, gold, coal and other minerals.

Mr Robert’s appeals were backed by Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, who said Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones was looking into the matter.

A story from Four Corners revealed Greywolf’s history of making false promises and misleading claims to convince people to invest.

Mr Robert had bought shares in the company, which gave him wine and handbags between 2010 and 2012.

Internal Greywolf documents also revealed a series of contacts between the company, Mr. Robert and his office.

The company’s former chief financial officer, Daniel Flett, said the contact included “several phone calls, emails [and] meetings”.

When Mr Robert was quizzed by host Stan Grant on Thursday night’s Q&A show, he said he had not been close to the company.

He repeated what he told Four Corners: that he had never used his position as a politician to defend the company.

“I didn’t do anything for them,” Mr. Robert said.

“I was not aware of any of the company’s transactions. I bought shares and lost them all. It’s as simple as that.”

When Grant suggested that Mr Robert bought 5 million shares, he denied it, but also refused to say how much he paid for the shares.

“I bought shares and delisted them before I entered the ministry,” he said.

“I informed ABC Four Corners of this before the show aired. I note that this part was not aired.”

Four Corners had included Mr Robert’s response that he had disposed of the shares in 2018 for “zero dividends and zero capital gains”.

The deputy’s office had sent an updated statement to the program stating that it had disposed of the shares at a loss. This update was received after the production deadline for Four Corners expired.

What was broadcast was that the Australians had invested around $7 million in the business, with many having lost much of their life savings, and that ASIC had said there was “no enough evidence” to act on several complaints.

ASIC told Four Corners it had acted on a complaint that Greywolf Resources did not keep proper financial records, but decided that on other allegations against the company “no further action will be taken”. .

One person who complained to ASIC is Lorraine Fitzjohn, who told Q+A that not only did she invest, but her whole family did too, to the tune of around $180,000.

Ms Fitzjohn said she and her husband did their due diligence but that didn’t stop her and her family members losing big.

Lorraine Fitzjohn told Q+A that her family invested $180,000 in Greywolf and lost it all.

“We had an accountant look at them and we thought we had done all the research, so we bought them and I wanted to share this opportunity with my family,” she said.

Ms Fitzjohn said ASIC had done nothing about her complaint.

The statement sparked calls for an investigation from Finance Minister Katy Gallagher and Mr Robert.

“You have filed a complaint with ASIC and ASIC should be able to respond to you,” Senator Gallagher said.

“I know the deputy treasurer has also asked for information on this, so the government is taking a look at it.”

“It’s terrible what happened to you,” Mr Robert said.

He added that he would welcome an investigation as an “aggrieved investor”.

“ASIC should investigate because on the face of it you can’t sell a security to a retail investor without having an Australian Financial Services License which has retail investors, generic product advice and trading a title,” he said.

Watch the full Q+A episode on iview.

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