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Victorian barrister allegedly at heart of global fraud ring


Due to the apparent connections to a similar scam in the UK, the corporate regulator is now working in tandem with the British Financial Conduct Authority as it pursues suspected crooks.

According to an affidavit lodged in the Federal Court last month, ASIC found a bank account tied to a company owned by Mr Podaridis, called Pramana Capital Pty Ltd, that took in about $1.16 million from suspected bond scam victims in a period of just two weeks in early January, of which almost half was immediately transferred through crypto platform ProTrade to an account in Belgium.

Mr Podaridis had also set up, in September 2018, an account with foreign exchange operator AFEX under the Pramana Capital name which, according to transaction records, allegedly received multiple deposits in 2020 from suspected victims of a fake bond scam run out of the UK, an earlier precursor to the type of scam perpetrated locally in Australia.

Internal AFEX emails, seen by ASIC, show that £145,000 ($270,000) that flowed into the Pramana Capital AFEX account was injected by suspected victims, who believed they were making investments in high-performing but safe bond funds.

Victims who had attempted to get their funds back from AFEX triggered the company to question Mr Podaridis about why he was receiving the money. While he told AFEX it was for bond purchases, the Melburnian “failed to produce adequate documentation” when requested by AFEX and, according to ASIC, the company then shut his…

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