It took almost 3 years, but insolvency fraud charges brought by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) against company director, Paul Michael Belousoff, concluded on 21 February 2011 with a guilty plea and the court ordering he serve a prison sentence.
Back in August 2005 two of Mr Belousoff’s companies – namely, Index Options (Australia) Pty Ltd and Bel Investments Pty Ltd – were placed into liquidation by order of the Court.
In 2006 Mr Belousoff was convicted in the Magistrates Court of offences brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) under section 475 and 530A of the Corporations Act (failure to submit a report as to affairsto the liquidator and failure to supply the liquidator with the books) in respect of both of his companies. He was fined a total of $2,900.
In July 2006 the liquidator was granted an order by the Victorian Supreme Court that the liquidator be appointed as receiver of the Index Options Trust for the purpose of preserving its assets. In his judgment Justice Whelan said:
“It suffices to say that in my view the liquidator’s material establishes that Mr Belousoff was responsible for a serious failure to keep proper books and records and that there are grounds for serious concern that he was also responsible for the payment over of substantial funds of Index Options or the Index Options Trust in a most improvident manner.”
Later, in April 2008, Mr Belousoff was charged with eight counts of engaging in conduct that resulted in the fraudulent concealment or removal of company property and one count of fraudulently making a material omission in a report as to affairs.
These frauds came to the attention of ASIC through a liquidator’s report, which was prepared with funds provided to the liquidator from ASIC’s Assetless Administration Fund (AA Fund).
The liquidator, ASIC and the Commonwealth DPP claimed that after the liquidator was appointed,- Mr Belousoff fraudulently removed or concealed in excess of $1 million worth of property belonging to the two companies.
In September 2008 ASIC disqualified Mr Belousoff from managing corporations for five years because of his involvement with two failed companies.
On 31 January 2011 Mr Paul Belousoff pleaded guilty to all of the charges brought in April 2008. On 21 February 2011 the Court sentenced Mr Belousoff to a term of 11 months imprisonment, but that he be released after serving three months on the condition that he be of good behaviour for three years.