The former CEO of van Eyk Research, Mark Peter Thomas, has been sentenced to one year and three months’ imprisonment, to be served by way of an intensive correction order, for using his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly obtaining an advantage for himself.
ASIC said that Mr Thomas dishonestly used his position as director of New Zealand-based van Eyk Research subsidiary Blueprint Investment Management, by recommending and facilitating Blueprint investing nearly $5 million in a separate fund, the Wholesale Enhanced Income Fund.
The funds were then loaned to another company, TAA Melbourne, to purchase an interest in van Eyk Research, of which Mr Thomas was also CEO.
“By doing this, Mr Thomas used his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself,” the corporate regulator said.
“These transactions prevented a third party from gaining control of van Eyk Research, ensuring that Mr Thomas was able to remain as CEO and Chief Investment Officer of van Eyk Research.”
In sentencing Mr Thomas, Judge Bourke described his conduct as “complex and sophisticated” and noted that Mr Thomas “breached his position of trust and responsibility”.
The judge also observed that, although there was no investor loss, Mr Thomas “exposed managed funds to risk”.
Mr Thomas’ guilty plea, the loss of his career in financial services, and the fact that as a result of his conviction he will be banned from managing a corporation for five years, were taken into consideration.
As part of his sentence, Mr Thomas was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service.