ASIC argues Storm Financial breached duties

THE couple behind failed firm Storm Financial will go to trial after a court knocked back their application to have the case thrown out.

Storm Financial founders Emmanuel Cassimatis and Julie Cassimatis submitted to the Federal Court that the Australian Security and Investments Commission had no reasonable prospect of prosecuting the case against them.

Mr and Mrs Cassimatis were the executive directors of Storm Financial.

ASIC has brought court action against Storm, arguing Mr and Mrs Cassimatis breached their duties by allowing Storm to provide financial services.

It is argued Storm did not provide fair and honest advice and failed to take into account individual circumstances.

While Storm's services were initially confined to Townsville, by the time it was liquidated in 2009, it had customers throughout Queensland.

Storm Financial's collapse cost investors $300 million.

Mr and Mrs Cassimatis applied to the Federal Court for a summary judgment or to strike out part of ASIC's statement of claim.

But on Friday, Justice Reeves ordered the application be dismissed.

In a written judgment, Justice Reeves stated the Cassimatises also argued if ASIC could establish a reasonable director in their position would have been aware of the risks to Storm, ASIC had no reasonable prospect of showing a director would have concluded the risks were unacceptably high.

Justice Reeves found the issues were complex enough to require a trial.

"The Cassimatises have, therefore, failed on all three grounds to discharge their onus to persuade me that ASIC does not have reasonable prospects of successfully prosecuting these proceedings," he stated.

"...I am satisfied on all the materials before me that these proceedings involve the sorts of complex and difficult factual and legal disputes that warrant them being determined at a trial."

The case was adjourned to July 11.



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