ASIC still unable to comment on Tura Tavern finances as Financial Ombudsman prepares to take a closer look

Investigations into the financial affairs which led to the Tura Tavern being sold at auction to Bega Valley Shire Council for $1.2 million, are believed to be continuing after ASIC the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, refused to comment on the status of the investigation.

In July 2013, ASIC investigators spent a week locked in discussions with those affected by the demise of the tavern.

The collapse of Tura Pty, which owned the tavern, meant the loss of thousands of dollars for the mum and dad shareholders who had invested in the property and business through their self-managed super funds. Almost half a million dollars had been invested by local people in Tura Pty.

A director and major shareholder of Tura Pty was Nic Ellis. Mr Ellis is also a director of the 2020 Group, where many of the shareholders in the tavern were clients.

When the investigators visited the local area an ASIC spokesman said: “ASIC has an investigation which is ongoing and it's not our practice to comment on ongoing investigations.”

Asked more recently about progress, the spokesman said: “We still can't comment at this stage.”

The ASIC investigation is likely to be complex because of the number of shareholders and the number of companies, in which Mr Ellis was a director or shareholder that were involved in some way in Tura Pty.

Mr Ellis’s company, the 2020 Group was listed in the report to creditors as providing accountancy services to Tura Pty. Mr Ellis is also a director of Lampten Pty which purchased 348 shares from six shareholders a matter of days before Tura Pty was put into voluntary administration.

In addition to any investigation by ASIC, the News Weekly understands that a complaint has been made to the Financial Ombudsman Service which has been asked to look at the circumstances leading up to the financial collapse of Tura Pty and the advice given to investors. The Financial Ombudsman Service aims to resolve disputes between consumers and member financial services providers.

While 2020 Solutions was not an Australian Financial Services Licence holder, the News Weekly understands the financial services products it used did come from a registered company and could be covered by the compensation scheme to which all licensed organisations subscribe.

If successful the move may open up a way for investors to retrieve some of their lost funds. No decision is expected for at least another month.

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