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Contempt of court action against family accused of running binary options site

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A father and son duo, who are allegedly part of a ring running an international binary option scheme that has misappropriated millions from Australians, and their lawyer have been accused of contempt of court.

Tony Senese, a convicted finance criminal, and his son Cameron Senese are alleged by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to have flouted Federal Court orders freezing his assets that were in place in 2016.

One of Belize's beautiful beaches. A website based in the country, TitanTrade, is accused of siphoning off millions of ... One of Belize’s beautiful beaches. A website based in the country, TitanTrade, is accused of siphoning off millions of dollars from Australian investors. Photo: Shutterstock

The law firm representing the Seneses at the time, Kalus Kenny Intelex, has also been accused of contempt of court. The contempt of court action has been brought by ASIC.

KKI principal Jonathan Kenny said there had not been any contempt and the matter had been opposed. He added he was no longer representing the Senese family or the family businesses allegedly linked to the TitanTrade website.

Calls to the office of the Senese family’s new legal team of HWL Ebsworth went unanswered on Sunday.

The contempt action comes amid a long-running investigation by ASIC into the activities of the Belize-based binary option website Titantrade.com and its operators, Seychelles-registered One Tech Media and Britain’s Ultra Solutions MG (UK).

The regulator alleges that about $4.16 million ploughed into TitanTrade by its customers, including Australians, has been deposited into the business bank account held in the name of Tony Senese’s business Allianz Metro.

In 2016, the Federal Court issued orders restricting Tony Senese, his wife Sandy Senese and son Cameron Senese and Israel-based associate Yoav Ida from operating the website and freezing their assets. 

Withdrawals for living expenses and legal fees were capped under the orders. The freezing orders were varied this year. The Senese family and their businesses are still restrained from participating in the binary options business or the operations of the website.

The Senese family and Mr Ida have long denied any involvement in the operation of the website and instead have argued, through their lawyers, that they are operating a legitimate payment platform business used by visitors to the website.  ASIC is yet to formally make any allegations against the companies or the Senese family or Mr Ida. 

Mr Senese was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2002 after being found guilty of theft and false accounting charges relating to the collapse of financial services firm EC Consolidated Capital, including a $5 million spending spree using investor money.

Mr Senese’s former business partner Tim Gatland, who was involved in a host of allegedly nefarious activities, went missing in Thailand in the mid-1990s and is believed to have been murdered.

ASIC alleges shortly after the freezing orders were first made, Tony Senese entered into a loan agreement with Edge Premium Funding and made a a series of drawdowns to pay his mortgage, his legal fees, credit cards and to make several transactions between family businesses.

His son Cameron also allegedly flouted the freezing orders by withdrawing monies from two new bank accounts set up amid ASIC’s investigation.

ASIC also alleges Kalus Kenny Intelex is guilty of contempt of court through its involvement in certain transactions by which legal expenses were paid in excess of the carve outs provided in the various orders.

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