Ice cream battery scam accused revealed
THE Gold Coast men accused of money laundering and other financial crimes over an alleged investment scam in which ice cream machines were passed off as cutting edge battery technology have been revealed as a father and son from Robina.
Police allege Vadim Volkov, 37, was part of a complex operation that attracted investment from ASX-listed company LWP Technologies, a company which ultimately failed leaving shareholders $40 million out of pocket.
The State Crime Command's Financial and Cyber Crime Group is seeking a warrant for a second man, 62, understood to be Volkov's Russian-born father Viktor Volkov, a director of Graphenera, the company involved in the alleged battery scam.
After pressure from a group of LWP investors, QPS detectives commenced Operation Prefix in January this year over the credibility of the joint venture with Graphenera.
A statement from Detective Acting Superintendent Vince Byrnes of the State Crime Command's Financial and Cyber Crime Group said "following dishonest disclosures by the (alleged) offenders, the former board of the investor company (LWP) paid $566,450 and issued 30,000,000 shares to enter a joint venture with the (alleged) offenders and finance production of graphene batteries".
"Police will allege the money was not invested as promised and was used for the (alleged) offenders' personal benefit," the statement said.
"In September 2016, the former board of the investor company terminated the joint venture however their attempts to have their capital returned were ignored by the (alleged) offenders, resulting in financial loss to shareholders, including those who bought shares following public announcements of the joint venture.
"We will allege this was a scam investment with the (alleged) offenders making several false claims to deceive investors."
The alleged offenders shipped ice-cream machines labelled as scientific laboratory equipment to a facility in Thailand where the batteries were to be produced though none were, police allege.
"Both (alleged) offenders made dishonest representations to the former board members of the investor company in relation to their qualifications, purporting to have scientific backgrounds and relationships with Russian based scientists and Australian based scientific institutions," police said.
"The investigation confirmed that despite knowing that the graphene technology could not be produced, the (alleged) offenders continued marketing it in order to secure investments."
Vadim Volkov was charged with one money laundering offence and two fraud offences (dishonestly cause detriment and dishonestly induce delivery of $60,050) and is expected to appear in Southport Magistrates Court on October 3.
An arrest warrant is in the process of being issued for the 62-year-old for the same charges.
The charges are the result of an eight-month protracted police investigation conducted by the FCCG, with support from the Crime and Corruption Commission and Australian Border Force.
LWP has itself found itself the subject of numerous investigations by the ASX and ASIC, who late last year opted to conduct "no further investigations" into the company despite a parliamentary inquiry hearing allegations of "insider trading, undisclosed related party transactions, manipulation of the share price … and misleading statements".