Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE, VIC & SYDNEY, NSW: It is unknown if the police are currently investigating the large scale misappropriation of funds from Clive Peeters Limited, with CEO Greg Smith saying he could not provide details on the matter. This news comes as the true scale of the accounting discrepancy becomes known, with the actual figure closer to $20 million.

Although widely reported last week as an accounting discrepancy of $7 million, Smith said that this figure is a misnomer, with the actual figure being $19.9 million. This money was then used to buy property and other real assets.

“The $7 million is a bit of a furphy, but in fact you can tell from the amount of properties that have been purchased, the figure is much higher than the $7 million. [Property valued at] $19.9 million has been purchased out of funds extracted from Clive Peeters accounts,” said Smith.

When asked if the police were involved in the investigation, Smith said, “I can’t comment on that, this is still protected at the moment. It’s a very complex commercial and litigation matter and it is also has implications in other areas.”

One thing Smith is grateful for is that the money was used to purchase real assets, which can now be seized and liquidated into cash for reinjection into the company. Smith said that he originally feared that the monies would be unredeemable, as is often the case with large-scale embezzlement, with culprits using the money to feed illicit habits, especially problem gambling.

“We’re lucky in the sense, usually when these types of events occur, the assets get dissipated, but in this situation, we’re lucky that the assets are significantly sitting there in terms of solid investment properties, and we’ve had court orders to transfer those assets back to us, and that process is well under way now,” said Smith.

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