Economy

Man pleads guilty in relation to alleged $110 million Myra Financial Services fraud; Rate cut fails to boost confidence: Midday Roundup

Eloise Keating /

A Melbourne man has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to defraud financial institutions in relation to an alleged $110 million home loan fraud.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said in a statement Mohamed Radhi Maki Ebrahim Ahmed entered a guilty plea in proceedings before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The charge relates to Ahmed’s role at Myra Home Loan Pty Ltd, trading as Myra Financial Services, which has been investigated by ASIC. The fraud allegedly involved using fake documents to apply for at least 350 loans from numerous lenders, including the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, National Australia Bank and others.

ASIC said Ahmed has arrested on December 19, 2014 and appeared in court on February 10. The proceeding was the subject of a suppression order, which expired on March 6. He is due to appear in Melbourne County Court on April 16.

Ahmed pleaded guilty to conspiring with Najam Shah and Aizaz Hassan to defraud financial institutions through providing false documents in support of loan applications submitted on behalf of Myra clients between December 2009 and December 2011. Both Shah and Hassan have been arrested over the scheme.

The applicable loan applications were valued at approximately $79 million.

A fourth person, Manija Zayee, has been implicated in the scheme, appearing in a Melbourne court at the end of January.

 

Interest rate cut fails to boost business confidence

 

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to cut interest rates last month has not had a positive effect on business confidence as hoped, according to the National Australia Bank Business Survey Index released today.

February’s Index shows business confidence is now at its lowest level since before the Federal election in 2013, revealing a three-point decline in confidence to zero.

NAB said the fall was driven by broadly based factors including political and economic uncertainty. Mining and retail reported the worst decline, while manufacturing and wholesale were the only industries to report a rise in confidence, although both still remain soft.

 

Shares up on open

 

Australian shares have traded higher this morning, off the back of US investors’ enthusiasm for Apple’s latest announcements and the launch of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing bond buying program.

But Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist for CMC Markets, said in a statement “mixed messages from commodity markets and weakness in European shares may keep enthusiasm in check” for the rest of the day.

“The easy digestion by US investors of a possible earlier start to rate rises should see some retracement of yesterday’s local falls,” McCarthy said.

“Investors appear to have remembered that US rates are rising because the economy continues to improve. However, further weakness in gold and iron ore is likely to drag on resource shares, partially offset by a 2% jump in copper prices drive by surprisingly strong China export data.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 19.7 points to 5841 points at 11.42am AEDT. On Monday, the Dow Jones closed 138.94 points higher, up 0.78% to 17995.7 points.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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