Fraud charges against former Octaviar director David Mark Anderson have been spectacularly dropped after the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) decided it would not be in the public interest in light of his failing health.
Anderson was a key figure in the final days of Octviar, the failed ASX-listed Gold Coast funds manager formerly known as MFS which ultimately collapsed with debts of more than $2.5 billion in 2009.
The former CFO of Octaviar had been facing 27 fraud charges alleging that while a director of subsidiary Octaviar Investment Holdings No 3 Pty Ltd, he had dishonestly applied $4.6 million in corporate funds for his own use.
The offences are alleged to have occurred between 18 June 2012 and 21 September 2015. Anderson was was sole director of the Octaviar subsidiary at the time of the alleged offences.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission, which originally brought the charges against Anderson in 2019, announced today that the charges were dropped last Thursday, 30 March.
“The CDPP decided to withdraw the charges because it considered that it was no longer in the public interest to continue with the prosecution given new and compelling medical evidence about the poor state of Mr Anderson’s health,” the corporate watchdog revealed today.
No further details of the state of Anderson’s health have been provided.
Since the committal hearing before the Southport Magistrates Court in 2019, the fraud charges against Anderson were adjourned for further mention on seven occasions before he was committed to stand trial before the Queensland District Court on 15 March 2021. The matter was adjourned for mention in the District Court multiple times since then, with the most recent being 30 March this year.
ASIC says Anderson, who was among five former Octaviar executives found guilty in a separate civil action in 2016 of misappropriating $143.5 million in funds just months ahead of the company's collapse, has now been discharged by the judge on the criminal charges.
The civil action originally brought by ASIC in 2009 had alleged that $143.5 million was transferred from the then MFS-controlled Premium Income Fund (PIF) and used to pay company debts.
The trial against former MFS chief executive Michael King and fellow directors Craig White, Guy Hutchings, Marilyn Ann Watts and Anderson, was first heard in 2013 and again in 2014 before a 343-page judgment was handed down in May 2016.
Anderson was disqualified from managing a corporation for 25 years following the judgment, while also being penalised $500,000 and ordered to pay $205 million to PIF.
Prior to its collapse, MFS was one of the Gold Coast’s biggest companies that managed a range of assets, from financial services, tourism and leisure including Australian ski resorts, to childcare centres and alternative assets such as water resources.
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