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Storm Financial: "You don't have to be black or poor to have human rights," says Levitt

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IF PEOPLE who lost their homes in the Storm Financial collapse had instead lost them in a bushfire, would the government reaction have been different?

Sunshine Coast police officer Sean McArdle, who was among 3000 clients who lost more than $3.5 billion when share markets fell in 2008, told a large crowd of victims at Redcliffe on Tuesday night he had no doubt the nationwide response would be "like nothing we've ever seen before".

But he said this "tragedy" was not treated with the same compassion and victims, many small-time mum and dad investors with little understanding of the financial industry, instead had been viewed as greedy.

Sydney law firm Levitt Robinson is running a class action against the Commonwealth Bank and Macquarie Bank for about 650 Storm victims.

The action will run alongside the Australian Securities and Investments Commission case which alleges the CBA, Macquarie and Bank of Queensland supported Storm's unregistered managed investment scheme.

The banks deny the allegations.

Hundreds of Storm victims are expected to converge on the Federal Court in Brisbane for the start of the three-month case on Monday, though the case could be delayed a further week if legal argument has not been resolved by then.

They have been told they could recoup more than $1 billion if the action is successful.

Mr McArdle, who this week has been slapped with a $1.2 million counter claim for mortgage and margin loan repayments from the Commonwealth Bank, urged people to disregard this move.

"You have other things to worry about like looking after yourselves and your families," he said.

"This has been going on for four years and the toll on you all, personally, is immeasurable.

"The harm this institution is doing to Australian families is wrong."

Lawyer Stewart Levitt told the crowd he was dedicated to this "human rights case".

He said these victims had battled their way through life to fund a healthy financial future and had, instead, found themselves in the same socio-economic predicament as those oppressed for other human rights reasons.

"You don't have to be black to have human rights, you don't have to be poor, you have to be oppressed by a large institution which doesn't respect you and takes advantage of you," he said.

"That's a human rights case and you fit the bill.

"You worked hard all your life and you trusted some of the most important pillars of our financial system, some of the major trading banks.

"Unfortunately, they haven't been kept in check by the regulators or the government.

"Storm was under absolute scrutiny by ASIC in November, 2007.

"Now they're prosecuting them for the very thing they failed to address and could have prevented.

"They said they were bringing these proceedings to set a new moral and legal bar for the provision of financial services and products in Australia.

"You are the battlers against the banks.

"This is an unprecedented example of people taking responsibility for themselves for their own mistakes and injustices rort against them.

"The truth will be told unless the banks determine there's a fair and equitable settlement and they put teeth in the promise 'Where right has been done we will make it right'.

"We know what's in your records is often falsified, often by Storm planners or by bank officers.

"It's not what you told them, it's what they told you that's on trial in this case."

Mr McArdle urged the victims to dig deeper to fund the lengthy legal battle.

"You have a unique opportunity to stick it to the biggest bank in Australia and their counterparts," he said.

"We have the case, the evidence, the legal team and the venue to make a stunning victory occur".

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  • doyla66
    doyla66 Saturday, 08 September 2012

    Hi Lisa, Your profile includes"Nice Person" I hope that has been added by a supporter. If not I'll add it.
    Cheers, John T.

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Saturday, 08 September 2012

    Hi John, I'm delighted and grateful for your timely support, after a rather shocking week. Thankyou so much, Lisa :)

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Saturday, 08 September 2012

    Instances of systemic parent-lender/broker endorsed LAF fraud ASIC's position: neglects, ignores or chooses not to 'ascertain' by audit, the real oppression inflicted upon the 100,000+ good citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia: notwithstanding stating in the true spirit of PR (101) "We know what's in your records is often falsified, often by Storm planners or by bank officers." Why does ASIC abandon the "quantum" issue in hand and act in accordance with it's mandate????

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Sunday, 09 September 2012

    ASIC is afraid: damned if they do, damned if they don't. In the case of their Storm involvement they're driving with the handbrake on after taking a stand with the Storm people. It's odds on that the Storm people will have to sue ASIC as well at some stage if they pursue the litigation path in their search for appropriate compensation. Litigation looks good in the media - in part it's the theatre of conflict, shows something is happening, actually a form of infotainment. Behind the scenes the victims may get very little in the way of actual monetary compensation but by the time their cases are brought to "justice", acceptance and recognition (read: "reduced vilification") just feeling heard does make a difference. It's a war of attrition in an environment of oppression, abuse and neglect. Many Storm clients have become part of the grass roots social justice movement through their personal experience and the reframing of that experience in the theatre of conflict.
    When large enough numbers of banking heads, power brokers and erstwhile legal bullies are also put through the refiner's fire and hammered on the anvil of personal experience Australia will become a more humane, just and progressive democracy, consistent with its underlying ethos.

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Sunday, 09 September 2012

    As a suggestion, why doesn’t ASIC or the other Lawyers involved PROSECUTE THE BANK’s CHAIRMAN, CEO, & EXECUTIVES, rather that the actual Bank itself?

    EDITOR: Amazingly the bank engineers have all jumped ship with nice little bonus packs

    After all, they are the ones allowing this FRAUD to start in the beginning and are also allowing it to continue!
    They should be held personally liable!

    EDITOR: The bank engineers have all jumped overboard with gold plated masts on their 5 star life-rafts and taken nice little bonus packs with them.

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Sunday, 09 September 2012

    Good suggestion John W. Make those who were paid to show professional conduct and prudent decision making personally accountable for their choices and actions.
    How do we get ASIC to do that?
    Why hasn't ASIC done that yet?

  • doyla66
    doyla66 Sunday, 09 September 2012

    It's a crime, perverting the course of justice by way of CEO's knowingly suppressing &/or destroying relevant docs to cover-up the commission of a crime - LAF fraud.

    CEO's deliberately failing to exercise ASIC 'continuous disclosure rules' since High Court decision (Tonto) in June/2012 & resultant real material impact that is sure to follow on their respective share price re damages they are now liable for of between $50b-$100b (like shareholders 'don't need to be fully informed investors ) when all this 'implodes' on their CEO's lap (& it's going to be no 'lap dance' party).

    Gadens are 'circling the wagons' to try to limit CEO's criminal exposure to 'fraud' (kind of like a internal ring of bodyguards) when the real s%'t hits the CEO's gin palace's fans!

    Note: Cigaret company lawyers were charged & convicted for destroying relevant docs in anticipation of writs being served. . no one is beyond the reach of the law when it is consciously enforced, even belatedly.

  • Denise
    Denise Sunday, 09 September 2012

    The original bank engineers have all jumped overboard with gold plated masts on their 5 star life-rafts and taken nice little bonus packs with them. Yes of course the "individuals" responsible for this scandal are the ones who should be handcuffed and charged - immediately!

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