The Serious Fraud Office has charged options trader Greg Arnott for using some $2.5 million of investor funds for other purposes, and expects to charge another person soon.
The charges come after the white-collar crime investigator completed its probe into Derivatek New Zealand, which traded options on the ASX on behalf of New Zealand clients. Arnott faces five charges under the Crimes Act of theft by a person in a special relationship and making a false statement by promoter.
The SFO alleges Arnott used investor funds for personal use, paying a portion of an advance fee on a US$20 million loan and repaying funds owed to other investors.
"This is a growing problem and highlights the importance of looking beyond personal connections and carefully assessing the risk of investments," acting chief executive Simon McArley said in a statement. "There is considerable danger in basing investment decisions on the recommendation of a relative, friend or acquaintance rather than careful investment analysis."
The SFO began its investigation into Derivatek after an earlier probe into another Arnott company, Australian Securities (NZ).
Arnott is scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court on November 13.