James Mawhinney charged with dishonest conduct


Mayfair 101's James Mawhinney was arrested yesterday and charged with engaging in dishonest conduct for allegedly claiming IPO Wealth Group owned companies that it did not.

Mawhinney has been in a years-long battle with ASIC now, with the regulator taking him to court for operating what it believes to be a Ponzi scheme and Mawhinney fighting the claims and accusing ASIC of its own misconduct in pursuing him.

In the latest instalment, Mawhinney was arrested yesterday and charged with four counts of engaging in dishonest conduct while carrying on a financial services business. It's alleged that on four occasions between August 9, 2019, and April 21, 2020, made representations to the trustee of the IPO Wealth Fund, Vasco Trustees, that it owned companies in Italy that it did not.

Mayfair 101's James Mawhinney has been arrested and charged with dishonest conduct.

He appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday and is due to reappear on June 28. As a condition of his bail, Mawhinney is not allowed to leave the country.

According to ASIC, Mawhinney claimed IPO Wealth Group owned Poveglia S.R.L and Retta S.R.L.

In a statement published on the Mayfair 101 website yesterday and sent to media, Mawhinney said: "I have been advised by my lawyers not to talk about the case. I refer to what Mr Richter KC said today in Court: 'We expect to defeat these charges, and then we will consider bringing a case for malicious prosecution.  Further, we want to put it on record that there is no harm alleged by the charges.'"

The statement has since been updated online to read: "I have been advised by my lawyers not to talk about the case. I refer to what Mr Richter KC said today in Court: 'I don't know what brought this about. We will demonstrate unless (the charges) are dropped.... there may be a further action to demonstrate malicious prosecution.'"

The day before he was arrested, Mawhinney published an article on the Mayfair 101 website, again calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into ASIC and its investigation of IPO Wealth Group and Mayfair 101.

"The Australian Parliament needs to uncover what has gone on here. The public and the courts have been misled about my business and my character, and false allegations have been relied upon by public officers - who were on notice of them - in a relentless attempt to claim a scalp," he wrote.

"Mayfair 101's clients and the Australian public deserve answers."

Mawhinney also recently applied to have more than 50 paragraphs, including where ASIC seeks findings of contravention, struck out of the regulator's statement of claim in its ongoing case against him.

Further, the details of a $44 million legal settlement reached between Mayfair 101, Mawhinney and the liquidators of IPO Wealth which saw Mayfair 101 regain control of assets and the liquidators abandon their claim were recently made public.

This article first appeared on Financial Standard

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Jamie Williamson is editor of Financial Standard. Prior to this she was a senior journalist, covering wealth management including financial advice, superannuation and life insurance. Before turning to journalism, she worked in public relations, specialising in financial services. She has a Bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Newcastle.