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Thursday, 29 May 2003
Page: 15549

Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 19 August 2002:

(1) How many reports have been made to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) since 1 January 1999 about company records involving allegedly fraudulent changes of company directorship and principal office details.

(2) What steps have been taken by ASIC since 1999 to deal with fraudulent alterations to company records.

(3) How many people have been charged by ASIC, or on behalf of ASIC, for fraudulent activity in relation to company records.

(4) Has ASIC sought additional powers or resources from the Government to deal with the problem of fraudulent company record alteration.

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

(1) ASIC receives comparatively few complaints about this type of conduct. ASIC advises that, due to the classification system used on the ASIC database, it is impossible to provide a precise number. Since 1 January 1999, there have been fewer than ten matters of this nature.

(2) ASIC has contributed to the development of the CLERP 7 legislative reform process that aims to simplify lodgment and improve compliance. Among the changes envisaged by these reforms is the requirement for ASIC to issue confirmation of changes lodged, enabling company officers to verify that such changes are legitimate. Other elements of the reforms enhance the facility for electronic lodgments, which enable a higher degree of validation than is practicable on a paper form.

(3) In recent years, ASIC has commenced litigation on seven separate occasions in relation to the lodgement of false information which represents a contravention of section 1308 of the Corporations Act 2001.

(4) See answer to Question 2.