An Australian dotcom trader whose business failed is facing the potential of heavy fines after ASIC stepped in and commenced legal action.
A director of failed Queensland aquaculture venture, Seafood Online.com Ltd (Seafood Online), Mr William Matthew Schoch, has been committed to stand trial on charges laid by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The committal proceeding involving a second director of Seafood Online, Mr Terrence Michael Byrne, has been adjourned to a date to be set.
Mr Schoch will stand trial on nine counts of dishonestly using his positions as a director to gain an advantage for himself and others.
The charges against Messrs Schoch and Byrne follow an investigation by ASIC into their involvement in a deal alleged to have assisted Seafood Online’s $16 million public float to achieve minimum subscription. ASIC alleges that a company controlled by Mr Schoch, Schochco Pty Ltd, received undisclosed commissions for brokering the deal and investing in the float itself. It is also alleged a company controlled by Mr Byrne, Terry Byrne & Associates Pty Ltd, received an undisclosed commission for investing in the float.
Mr Schoch and Mr Byrne remain on bail. A trial date is yet to be set.
The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Seafood Online commenced construction of an aquaculture farm on land at Abbot Bay, north of Bowen in Queensland, in 1997. In order to raise the necessary funds to complete construction of the farm, it raised capital by way of an Initial Public Offering and was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in February 2000. The company was placed into external administration in February 2001.