ASIC has commenced civil proceedings and obtained urgent interim orders in the Federal Court against Mudasir Mohammed Naseeruddin (commonly referred to as Naseer or Mudasir), Secure Investments Pty Ltd (Secure Investments) and Aquila Group Pty Ltd (Aquila) (the Defendants) due to concerns of misleading and deceptive conduct and the operation of an illegal managed investment scheme.
This matter demonstrates ASIC’s readiness to take urgent action to protect vulnerable superannuation consumers in the current COVID-19 environment.
On 1 May 2020, ASIC obtained urgent interim orders to:
- appoint Provisional Liquidators to Secure Investments;
- appoint Receivers and Managers to Aquila;
- stop Aquila and Mr Naseeruddin from dealing with, disposing of and/or diminishing the value of their assets;
- restrain the Defendants from carrying on any kind of financial services business in Australia;
- restrain the Defendants from receiving, soliciting, transferring or disposing of investor funds they have already received for previous investment activities;
- restrain the Defendants from raising further funds from investors for investment activities; and
- restrain Mr Naseeruddin from leaving Australia.
ASIC alleges Mr Naseeruddin raised at least $2.4 million from 28 investors through his company Secure Investments. It is ASIC’s case that investors were encouraged to roll over their superannuation funds into new self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) and invest their SMSF monies in Secure Investments by way of a loan and were told they were investing in property.
ASIC also alleges that from December 2019, Mr Naseeruddin raised $250,000, through his company Aquila, by encouraging Indigenous investors to roll over their superannuation funds into new SMSFs and then invest the SMSF monies in Aquila by way of a loan. ASIC alleges that Mr Naseeruddin paid these investors a lump sum from their SMSF in exchange for an agreement to invest in Aquila and they were told their SMSFs were investing in property.
ASIC also alleges the Defendants used investor funds, at least in part, for their own personal use.
ASIC is seeking declarations from the Federal Court that the Defendants have contravened the Corporations Act 2001 by making false and misleading statements and engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct. ASIC is also seeking declarations that Mr Naseeruddin and Secure Investments breached the Corporations Act by operating an unregistered managed investment scheme which should have been registered. Also, that Mr Naseeruddin and Secure Investments operated the unregistered scheme without holding an Australian Financial Services licence.
ASIC’s investigation is continuing.
The matter will return to court today (8 May 2020).