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AUS: Suspended sentence for market manipulation.

BIScom Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

On 31 January 2023, Don George Evans of Woodlands, Western Australia, was sentenced in the Supreme Court of Western Australia to 12 months' imprisonment. Mr Evans will be released immediately upon entering into a recognisance of AUD5000, to be of good behaviour for two years.

According to a media release from ASIC published today "Evans was sentenced for conspiring with former Quantum Resources Limited director Avrohom Kimelman and corporate consultant Benjamin Heath Cooper to push Quantum shares to a pre-determined price. Quantum Resources is now known as Nova Minerals Limited.

Evans was introduced to then-Quantum director Kimelman by Cooper, whose firm, Cooper Corporate & Consulting Pty Ltd, had been engaged by Quantum as a consultant. The Court found that on 16 November 2015, Evans, along with Cooper and Kimelman, used an online group chat to coordinate a series of trades in Quantum shares, with the purpose of artificially increasing the Quantum share price and encouraging additional investor activity."

In sentencing, ASIC said, Justice McGrath noted the need to impose a sentence which would deter others who might be tempted to engage in similar unlawful conduct. Justice McGrath noted, ‘Compliance with [the prohibition on market manipulation] is vital to maintain market integrity and promoting the confident and informed participation of investors in the financial market operated by the ASX.’

So, market manipulation in what on the information available appears to have been akin to organising a pump-and-dump scheme has no financial penalty (Evans will get the AUD5,000 back if he stays out of trouble for two years) and no loss of liberty, not even community service.

Right: that's going to be a massive disincentive, isn't it?

As a result of his conviction, Evans is automatically disqualified from managing corporations for five years.

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