Mayfair investors search for answers at civil trial
OUT of pocket Mayfair 101 investors will be looking ahead to a February civil trial of embattled fund manager James Mawhinney where it could raise further allegations the Mission Beach-based director has a criminal case to answer.
The legal cloud hanging over Mayfair 101 follows a Federal Court order appointing liquidators to part of the Mayfair 101 outfit M101 Nominees that raised $67m through M Core Fixed Income Notes.
Provisional liquidators Said Jahani and Philip Campbell-Wilson of Grant Thornton were made liquidators after being appointed provisionally last year.
Mayfair 101 pursued ambitious plans to revitalise a dilapidated Dunk Island resort and spearhead a $1.5bn tourism mecca centred on Mission Beach, until allegedly "misleading products" came under investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission last year.
ASIC acting chair, Karen Chester, said the regulator stepped in to shut down Mayfair and protect investors.
"ASIC moved decisively early last year, directly and then ultimately through the courts, to restrain Mayfair from promoting these allegedly misleading products and to protect not only potential new investors but also the interests of existing investors," Ms Chester said.
"This action is one of several we have underway targeting fund managers not doing the right thing by investors."
However, Bruce Golightly - a Cairns-based investor who sunk $1m into the M Core debenture product - said he believed the ASIC action could make the return of investor outlay more difficult.
"Six months after (the product release) these geniuses at ASIC are saying they don't like the way they are advertising," Mr Golightly said.
"If the company went from provisional liquidators to liquidators the expected return to noteholders is zero."
Mayfair founder James Mawhinney - who is now living at a Mission Beach rental property - said plans to push forward with the half completed Dunk Island beachside bar were still on the table.
"This a vital step in the restoration of the group in regard to the winding up application," Mr Mawhinney said.
ASIC is also seeking orders that Mr Mawhinney be permanently restrained from advertising any financial products or soliciting funds for them, in a separate case that goes to court on February 15.
It is understood ASIC could inform the court there could potentially be allegations of criminal contraventions of the Corporations Act to answer, although no charges have been laid.
Mr Mawhinney said he would defend the allegations.
Originally published as Mayfair investors search for answers at civil trial