No trace of $13 million

Barry Kloogh
Barry Kloogh
Accountants combing through the wreckage of Barry Kloogh's financial advisory businesses cannot find any evidence of millions of dollars of supposed investments.

The total amount of money missing may now top $13.2 million.

The Otago Daily Times has seen the latest report to the High Court from accountancy firm Deloitte, which was appointed as interim liquidator to Mr Kloogh's companies Financial Planning Ltd and Impact Enterprises Ltd.

It depicts a tangled web whereby investors funds were paid into personal and business bank accounts, rather than into a separate trust account as required by the Financial Advisers Act.

While about $2.5million ended up where it should have been, Deloitte has so far found no trace of hundreds of other investments which Mr Kloogh's customers believed he had made on their behalf.

"While there are 321 investment assets recorded on the platform ... our preliminary investigations indicate that these assets, which have a stated market value of $12.7million, may not exist," the report said.

"We estimate the total investor losses could exceed $13.2million."

Investors were meant to have details of what their money had bought accessible to them through an electronic platform and to receive automated statements.

"We understand that log-in details for the platform were not provided to many investors, and that the postal addresses for many investors was Financial Planning Ltd."

Several investors believed they had funds placed with AMP, but when Deloitte approached the firm with a sample of six customers, AMP drew a blank.

There was no record of those investors holding any investments, other than existing personal insurance policies.

AMP told Deloitte it had been contacted by 18 Kloogh investors and "in each case no record could be found".

Deloitte said information Mr Kloogh made available to investors might not have painted an accurate picture of where their funds were.

"We believe that when an investor was set up in the platform as a client by Mr Kloogh, Mr Kloogh may have added fictitious external assets so that the investment assets recorded reconciled with what the investor expected to see."

There was also evidence a cheque a client saw being stamped to be paid to one company ended up being stamped with the name of another company, and banked into its account.

Mr Kloogh was sole director and shareholder of Financial Planning Ltd and Impact Enterprises Ltd.

Both firms have now been placed in liquidation, and this week Mr Kloogh's status as an authorised financial adviser was revoked.

The Inland Revenue is owed $13,000, and Mr Kloogh's seven staff are owed wages and holiday pay.

The report said the companies had "minimal tangible assets".

The worth of Financial Planning Ltd's main asset, its commission trails (annual fees paid to it by investors) depended on the wording of insolvency clauses and "what the market is prepared to pay under the circumstances".

The report said Mr Kloogh had sold a property near Alexandra in a "genuine arms-length sale" but proceeds were being held in trust.

"Our preliminary investigation suggests that a tracing investigation is likely to result in investor funds being traced to [the address]."

A central city property is also for sale but Deloitte also had concerns investor funds could be traced to that address.

The Serious Fraud Office began an investigation of Mr Kloogh on May 23.

No charges have been laid against him.

The Deloitte report said investigators seized 43 boxes worth of written material, as well as 20 electronic data records across 15 devices.

The figures

104 investors contacted Deloitte.
$15.7 million total investor deposits found so far.
More than $13.2 million total investor losses.
$2.5 million invested as expected by clients.
43 boxes of written material.




Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter