RAMS Home Loans founder pleads not guilty to fraud … Myer shows numbers after pressure from Lew … Property prices fall in Sydney

Property housing

Founder of RAMS Home Loans John Kinghorn has pleaded not guilty to fraud offences after being charged following an eight-year Australian Federal Police investigation, reports Fairfax.

The AFP has alleged Kinghorn avoided $30 million in taxation obligations through fraudulently concealing his beneficial ownership of corporate entities.

Kinghorn has been charged with one count of dishonestly influencing a public official and one count of defrauding the Commonwealth, which carry maximum terms of imprisonment of 10 years.

He appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Tuesday and entered a not guilty plea. The matter has been adjourned until February 6, reports Fairfax.

Myer reveals first quarter figures

Department store Myer has responded to pressure from shareholder Premier Investments to reveal sales figures for the first quarter at the company’s strategy day this morning.

In the 13 weeks to October 28, sales at the department store were down 2.8% to $699 million.

The company has also cut its targets as part of its five-year turnaround strategy, reports Fairfax, with the previous goal to increase sales per square by 20% by 2020 now reduced to a 10% increase.

Premier Investments owns 8.8% of Myer, and chairman Solomon Lew has made a number of demands in the weeks leading up to the strategy day, including for sales numbers to be released and for two seats on the company’s board.

Sydney property prices take a breath

Property prices in Sydney fell over the past quarter for the first time in 18 months, with a CoreLogic analyst saying the speed of the slowdown is “surprising”.

The Australian reports that the latest price figures for the city show prices dropped by 0.6% for the quarter.

“Affordability’s really stretched, obviously you can’t expect that to continue forever. At some point there’s going to be a pullback in values and we’re starting to see that now,” CoreLogic senior analyst Cameron Kusher told The Australian.

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