An investor who later became a scapegoat, blamed for missing millions by a hedge-fund founder, has claimed he was told the fund founder was hunting him down.
An investor who later became a scapegoat, blamed for missing millions by a hedge-fund founder, has claimed he was told the fund founder was hunting him down.

Ponzi founder had loaded gun, says ‘scapegoat’

A LUCKY investor who withdrew his $2 million right before the Goldsky hedge fund went bust has told a court probe that the fund founder later "had a loaded gun and was after my address".

Matthew Skene, a holiday rental landlord, formerly of Kingscliff, NSW, told a liquidators' examination into Goldsky Asset Management Australia Pty Ltd and related companies he had "no idea" why founder Ken Grace, 54, from the Isle of Capri on the Gold Coast, and his wife Jane Marzin-Grace, 52, would accuse him of stealing millions.

Giving evidence on the third day of the probe into the fund - which allegedly lost high-profile former professional sportspeople investors $25 million - Mr Skene denied claims by Mr and Mrs Grace in earlier evidence he had used Goldsky money to buy groceries, baby clothes and pay for dog hotels were ridiculous.

During questioning by barrister Liam Copley, for liquidator Chris Baskerville of Jirsch Sutherland, Mr Skene said the suggestion by the pair that he, or his associates were responsible for taking many millions of dollars from Goldsky were "totally untrue".

Mr Skene said he gave Mr Grace the $2 million proceeds of the sale of his home to buy shares in Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Ken and Jane Grace at court this week. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP
Ken and Jane Grace at court this week. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP

 

Steven Snow outside the Federal Court in Brisbane today. Picture: Attila Csaszar/AAP
Steven Snow outside the Federal Court in Brisbane today. Picture: Attila Csaszar/AAP

Mr Skene it was a short-term investment until he was ready to buy his next home.

He was able to withdraw his money after asking Mr Grace for his money back.

The probe earlier heard Mr Skene and the Grace family were friends who would socialise together in the tight-knit Kingscliff community until the fund went bust.

Mr Skene also told the examination hearing that he earned an estimated $12,000 in "finder's fees" paid with units in a Goldsky fund, for referring other investors to Mr Grace.

In earlier evidence Mr Grace denied running a Ponzi scheme after Mr Copley suggested Mr Grace had admitted to running a Ponzi scheme to investigators from the corporate regulator in 2018.

Those who invested in the fund - which claimed to use a combination of big data and fundamental investing - are former swim coach Scott Volkers who put in $220,000, former AFL player and assistant coach Simon Black ($80,000), current Essendon AFL player Devon Smith ($100,000), former AFL player Clark Keating ($100,000), former Olympic swimmer Sam Riley ($50,000) and Riley's husband Tim Fydler ($100,000), as well as Olympic cyclist Robbie McEwen ($50,000) and Melbourne Storm's director of performance Lachlan Penfold ($127,559).

Surfer Joel Parkinson invested in the fund but got out before the fund went bust, the court heard.

Another investor, Steven Snow, a chef and the owner of upmarket Fins Restaurant in Kingscliff, which was frequented by Mr Grace, told the court he withdrew most of his investment in October 2018, around the time the fund was placed into receivership.

Mr Snow said he had been asking Mr Grace about getting his money back for months, saying he felt under pressure to protect the nest-eggs belonging to his wife and mother.

Mr Snow said his wife was sceptical about the fund, asking him, "How does this guy have this ability?" about Mr Grace.

Mr Snow told the hearing that he did not really understand how the fund worked and trusted Mr Grace would look after his money.

"None of us understood it," Mr Snow said.

Another investor Gold Coast businessman Kane McDonald, the director of Penguin Concrete Constructions, said he believed he was still owed up to $900,000.

Today's witnesses include Mr Grace's son Austen Grace, daughter Jemma-Lee Fay Grace and his mother Fay Edna Grace.


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