Minor ban for major deceit.
Article originally published APRIL 22, 2005 –Reviewed and approved.
By Neil Jenman
Leonard McDowell and Paul Batho were once major members of disgraced property spruiker Henry Kaye’s gang. Yesterday the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) banned the pair from giving financial advice.
According to ASIC, McDowell and Batho “cannot be relied upon to comply with financial services laws in the future” – a polite way of saying they are a couple of dishonest spivs who mislead and deceive investors.
Leonard (Len) McDowell was the Chief Executive Officer of the National Investment Institute (NII), Henry Kaye’s flagship company. NII collapsed in February 2004, after a four-year reign of financial terror in which thousands of Australians lost tens of millions of dollars.
NII had a simple strategy for fleecing its customers – it lied.
McDowell was hired as CEO as part of Kaye’s grand plan to arrange a share float of the National Investment Institute. Had he pulled it off, Australians would have lost more millions. Shudder at the thought.
Paul Batho was the General Manager of Laton Capital Group, a company that raised finance from investors. Hailed as a former senior executive with the ANZ Bank and the Bank of Melbourne, Batho was the main speaker at Henry Kaye’s Advanced Finance Conferences.
Investors paid thousands of dollars to attend these conferences supposedly to learn how to obtain returns of “35% per annum – capital guaranteed!”
A star-studded cast of seemingly credible speakers – including lawyers, accountants, and quantity surveyors – joined Batho at the conferences. Together, they spent three days wooing and charming the audience. On the third day, Henry Kaye arrived and set the audience up for the big stitch into Mezzanine Finance.
Sucked in by the appearance that all was safe, many investors handed their money to Batho and his Laton mob. Several mortgaged their homes and tipped hundreds of thousands of dollars into Laton.
And guess who else was involved with Laton and splitting the loot like robbers in an alley – Lenny McDowell and Henry Kaye.
Yes, it’s good to see that ASIC has banned Batho and McDowell. Yes, it’s true the pair can’t be trusted. What’s not good, however, is that in a couple of years their ban will be over. As if they will then be worthy of trust.
Like their former boss, gang-leader Kaye, Len McDowell, and Paul Batho never deserve to be trusted by consumers. The reason is simple…
Dishonesty does not have an expiry date.
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