Former Money Portal boss Tony Morris has had his assets frozen by Australian judges over his links to the £52m GP Noble fraud case.
Independent Trustee Services' legal battle to recover millions of pounds missing from nine affected pension schemes spread to the Australian legal system after Morris was discovered living a life of luxury there earlier this year. Morris is a former chief of The Money Portal, which owned Nottingham-based GP Noble.
The New South Wales High Court ruling comes after British judge Mr Justice Peter Smith named Morris as a central figure in the pension scheme fraud and documents reveal the complex web of transactions behind the crime.
Some of the misappropriated millions went towards buying a £150,000 Aston Martin from a dealership in Mayfair. Other cash was used to buy land in Thailand and a hefty £1.4m divorce settlement.
In April this year, Australian news outlet Seven Network revealed to Professional Pensions Morris was living a life of luxury on the Sydney shores. In a TV interview Morris denied any wrongdoing and said he would co-operate with the investigation (PP Online, April 1).
However, the judge said: "In that interview Mr Morris told a number of obvious lies."
The documents confirm Morris had no official involvement in the court hearing, aside from a single e-mail where he denied he had done anything wrong. However, the judge said he believed Morris to be at the "centre of the fraud".
The £52m was transferred in two tranches to various companies connected to Morris. These included Multiple and Unilateral Financial Futures (MUFF), which received £45m intended to be invested in bonds. Independent Trustee Services said the investments are "worthless".
The case has a total of 27 defendants, many of which are offshore companies. Criminal proceedings against GP Noble trustees Graham Pitcher and Gary Cordell are ongoing.
In May, it emerged £32m had been recovered (PP Online, May 25) and ITS and law firm Taylor Wessing continue to hunt for the remaining assets.
Feasibility study due
'Let’s be bold enough to demand change'
Joint life second death option added to relieve tax burden on couples gifting assets
Backed by Schroders, LGIM and the IA
New system for funds without without three-year track record