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Thursday, 29 May 2003
Page: 15554


Mr Jenkins asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 6 February 2003:

(1) Is the Minister aware of allegations against Mr Francis James Muller, a US citizen, and Thailand companies named Global Option Co and Foreign Currency International, which are involved in foreign exchange speculation.

(2) Has the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) received any complaints of the activities of Mr Francis Muller, Global Option Co or Foreign Currency International.

(3) What action did ASIC take.


Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I was not aware at the time of the honourable member's question of any allegations against Mr Francis James Muller, Global Option Co or Foreign Currency International.

(2) ASIC has informed me that it has received a number of complaints in relation to the activities of Global Option Co and Foreign Currency International.

(3) ASIC has further informed me that while it has no jurisdiction over foreign-based companies that offer foreign exchange products by way of cold calling Australian consumers, it wrote warning letters to the companies and alerted the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission of their activities. Subsequently, ASIC listed both companies on the ASIC web site in the section warning Australian consumers against dealing with “Unlicensed Overseas Cold Callers”.

In addition, ASIC regularly issues media releases warning Australian consumers of the dangers of dealing with cold calling from unlicensed foreign based companies such as Global Option Co and Foreign Currency International.