Serious Fraud Office inquiry: Deloitte seeking answers

Barry Kloogh
Barry Kloogh
Authorities are trying to establish whether all funds placed with under-investigation Dunedin financial adviser Barry Kloogh were properly passed on to a managed fund, a letter from accountancy firm Deloitte to investors says.

Mr Kloogh is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office; no charges have been laid against him, but his status as an authorised financial adviser has been suspended by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

On Tuesday, the FMA applied successfully to the High Court to have two of Mr Kloogh's companies, Financial Planning Ltd (FPL) and Impact Enterprises Ltd (IEL), placed in interim liquidation.

The court appointed two interim liquidators, from accountancy firm Deloitte, who will now try to piece together the financial position of Mr Kloogh's companies before a possible full liquidation.

The interim liquidators have written to all known affected investors, to ask for details of deposits and withdrawals from Mr Kloogh's companies and any supporting documentation.

"It is the interim liquidator's understanding that all monies received by IEL and FPL may not have been passed on to a third party managed fund," the letter said.

"Investor funds held directly by IEL and FPL will be secured on the interim liquidators' appointment."

Any funds managed by the two firms and held by a third party could be frozen by the interim liquidators and not be paid out on, which may offer hope to some anxious investors.

No details have been released officially about how many people are affected by the investigation into Mr Kloogh, but the Otago Daily Times has spoken to several, including advocates representing multiple parties.

 

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Mr Kloogh's Dunedin office was searched by investigators in May, and worried investors have previously expressed their frustration about the lack of information made public subsequent to that search.

"We have been wondering what is happening," an investor told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

"Everyone has been left in the dark.

"You don't know what is going to happen, you just hope that you are going to get something back, but at least we know a little bit more now.

"It's not our life's savings ... but we know other people who did [invest them]."

The investor said they had been very conservative with their money and had used Mr Kloogh because he was a registered financial planner.

"You feel like you have been an idiot, even though you haven't."

An FMA spokesman said the authority sought the appointment of interim liquidators to maintain the assets of the companies, pending the hearing of a full liquidation application.

"The interim liquidators will investigate the affairs of the companies and provide an initial report to the court within four weeks," the spokesman said.

"If the companies are placed into liquidation, the liquidation will seek to provide an independent process and seek to provide certainty to the resolution of the companies' affairs."

A Serious Fraud Office spokesman said its investigation of Mr Kloogh was ongoing and it encouraged investors to contact it or the authority if they were affected.

"The Serious Fraud Office does not generally comment on an investigation until the point where charges, if any, are laid.

"This is because any public statement the Serious Fraud Office makes about an ongoing investigation could potentially compromise it."

The Deloitte letter said one of the interim liquidator's primary roles was to investigate the amount owed to investors and seek to reconcile claims to any funds or assets held by third parties.

"The interim liquidators will provide a written update to all investors within six weeks of their appointment," the letter said.

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