It has now emerged that a couple of senior employees of Opes Prime and an ANZ bank employee tried successfully and unsuccessfully to remove their money out of the stockbroker in its final days.
Nick Harding, the ANZ employee alleged to have indicated to a prospective Opes Prime client that his shares would be safe if the stockbroker failed, tried to pull his shares out hours before the broker collapsed, reports The Australian Financial Review.
Opes Prime’s chief operating officer Dean Boyle and corporate governance consultant Frank Dunphy successfully sold at least some of their shares in the final days before the collapse.
Boyle sold 75% of his entire portfolio and Dunphy sold $2.5 million ASX Ltd shares. The sales were ordered on 19 March, two days after Opes directors warned the ANZ they had found a “hole in the accounts”.
The transactions are just a few that will be examined by the receivers. Any that are deemed preferential will be reversed to recover money for creditors.
It has also emerged that Opes kept alive Sydney lawyer Chris Murphy’s broking account with margin lending of 95% after massive falls in the value of his $200 million portfolio by July last year.
The Australian newspaper reports that share portfolio statements show that Murphy was allowed to borrow 95% of the value of his share portfolio, which included blue-chip stocks, such as a $13 million stake in Telstra and a $45 million stake in the James Packer-backed Challenger Financial Group, as well as smaller companies such as Ebet, Heartware and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries.