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Wednesday, 24 May 1989
Page: 2630

(Question No. 938)

Senator Macklin asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 10 April 1989:

(1) Is the Minister aware of allegations that Cook Island `shell' companies have been used to manipulate artificially the price of Ariadne and Judge and Renouf shares through hidden agreements to defraud investors; if so, can the Minister outline the measures which have been taken to investigate these allegations.

(2) Have any investigations been completed; if so, what conclusions have been reached from these investigations.

Senator Tate —The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Following a direction by the Ministerial Council for Companies and Securities, the National Companies and Securities Commission (NCSC) arranged an investigation into the affairs of Ariadne Australia Limited. On 12 December 1988 the Commission appointed Mr R. W. Gotterson QC as an inspector to carry out the investigation. The NCSC has advised that the activities of certain Cook Island companies are included in the investigation.

On 2 March 1989 the New Zealand Minister for Justice, Mr Geoffrey Palmer, the Attorney-General, Mr Lionel Bowen, and other members of the Ministerial Council, agreed that both the NCSC and the New Zealand Securities Commission would exercise their powers in assistance of one another in the investigation in both countries of the affairs of Ariadne and related companies.

(2) The NCSC has advised that Mr Gotterson has already examined more than twenty witnesses in Australia and New Zealand and that more witnesses will need to be called before the investigation is completed in June 1989.