The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) have collaborated in a joint agency surveillance operation to identify and remove criminal syndicate and outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members from managing corporations or having a registered business name.
The operation focused on criminal syndicate and OMCG members and their affiliates who were:
- current company directors and/or company secretaries, but were automatically disqualified from holding the position by virtue of being convicted of a criminal offence involving dishonesty; or
- entities that had a registered business name, but were automatically disqualified from holding a registered business name by virtue of being convicted of an offence that involved dishonesty.
The operation identified six people who were current office holders with relevant criminal convictions and therefore automatically disqualified from managing corporations, and two people who had registered business names with relevant criminal convictions and automatically disqualified from holding a registered business name.
ASIC has removed the office holders from its corporate registers and given notice that it would cancel the registered business names.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said the operation highlighted the importance of co-operation between state and federal levels.
“We are working closely with agencies like the QPS to identify those involved in organised criminal activities and prevent them from managing companies and operating businesses,” Commissioner Price said.
“ASIC is committed to protecting consumers, investors and the public from those who present the greatest risk.”
State Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Maurice Carless said the QPS would not tolerate OMCG criminal activity in any form.
“We will continue to work with ASIC to ensure that OMCG members are not using companies and businesses as a front for criminal activity,” Assistant Commissioner Carless said.
“These kinds of operations are just one way we are delivering on our commitment to disrupt and dismantle OMCGs across Queensland.”
The Corporation Act 2001 (the Act) provides for automatic disqualification of directors and/or secretary from managing a corporation where the person is convicted of an offence that involves dishonesty and that offence is punishable by imprisonment for at least 3 months.
The Act further provides that a person who has been convicted of an offence of dishonesty is disqualified from taking part in the management of a corporation for a period of 5 years from either the date of their conviction; or if imprisoned, for a period of 5 years after being released from prison.
Failure to comply with the Act carries a penalty of $9,000 or imprisonment for 1 year, or both applies if the disqualified director or a secretary of a company continued to take part in the management of a company.
Similarly, the Business Names Registration Act 2011 (the Act) provides that an ‘Entity’ is disqualified from holding a business name if they have been convicted of an offence that involves dishonesty that is punishable by imprisonment for at least 3 months.
If no term of imprisonment is served, for a period of 5 years from the date of conviction; or where a term of imprisonment is served, for a period of 5 years after the day on which the entity is released from prison.
Further information in respect of Company Director/Officeholder obligations and Entity obligations can be found on ASIC’s website: www.asic.gov.au
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