NZ financial service provider Worldclear and local banks caught up in the activities of curious Singapore company Summit International

By Gareth Vaughan

A registered New Zealand financial service provider, NZ banks, and our Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) have found themselves involved, in varying ways, in what appears to be a scam run by a Singapore commodities and foreign exchange trader.

The company at the centre of it all is Summit International, whose website says; "Summit International is an offshore commodities and forex trading company based out of Singapore with a stellar track record in providing strong profits to our clients with minimal risk."

Despite this upbeat sales pitch, interest.co.nz has been told around three dozen Canadian investors have invested millions of dollars via Summit International, and have been unable to get the majority of this money back. Some investors were initially enticed in through cold calls.

At least some of the investors' money made its way into New Zealand, Singapore and United States bank accounts, including with Wells Fargo, via the registered NZ financial service provider Worldclear Ltd, interest.co.nz is told. The investing took place last year, and according to investors, who have tried to contact the company via email, phone and even fax, Summit has subsequently effectively disappeared.

Worldclear's director and majority shareholder is the Hamilton-based David Hillary. He says Worldclear provides accounts and services to financial institutions, plus both commercial and personal customers.

"As far as we know, no Worldclear customer has invested funds with Summit International. But one of our customers appears to have been collecting funds from a small number of investors for putting with Summit International. We received some contact from a person claiming to have lost money or been ripped off by them. We considered what they provided and our assessment was that it appears to be a reasonably sophisticated scam. We raised it with our affected customer and he agreed not to be involved with funds going to them, at our insistence. We no longer have a business relationship with that customer," Hillary said.

Within the NZ financial services sector Hillary is probably best known for his Lost Soul blog, where he wrote at length about South Canterbury Finance in the lead up to that company's 2010 demise. Hillary and Worldclear also featured in this interest.co.nz article last year about a US investor striving to get US$1 million back from a NZ entity named Standard Capital PB Limited, which was a Worldclear client.

Police probe

Interest.co.nz understands the investment fraud branch of the Singapore Police is investigating Summit International. Attempts to get comment from the Singapore Police have thus far elicited the following response; "Thank you for taking the effort to write to us. The issue you have raised is receiving our attention." Meanwhile, NZ banks who had Summit investors' money deposited with them have filed suspicious transaction reports with the NZ Police FIU.

Summit International appears on the investor alert list run by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This is a listing of unregulated persons who, based on information received by MAS, may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorised by MAS, says MAS. Interest.co.nz has attempted to contact Summit International, but thus far received no response to our queries.

Worldclear was incorporated as a NZ company on April 23, 2014. Worldclear has been registered on NZ's Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR) since April 30, 2014. It's registered to provide the services of being a creditor under a credit contract, operating a money or value transfer service, issuing and managing means of payment, and changing foreign currency.

The FSPR is managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment's Companies Office. Being registered on the FSPR doesn't mean a business or individual is licensed, monitored or supervised by regulators either in NZ or any other jurisdiction. In 2014 the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) received powers from the Government to direct the Registrar of Financial Service Providers, Ross van der Schyff, to deregister companies or prevent companies from registering on the FSPR. 

Hillary is Worldclear's sole director and 68.10% shareholder, according to Companies Office records. The next biggest shareholder is the Seychelles registered company EBANQ Holdings BV with 21.51%. EBANQ's CEO is Michael Magnusson, who wrote a book entitled; The land without a banking law; How to start a bank with a thousand dollarsMagnusson's book featured in this 2014 interest.co.nz article. 

Of Summit International Magnusson said; "I have no information or knowledge with regards to Summit International Inc." He said EBANQ also provides software and other information technology related products and services to Worldclear.

An FMA spokesman said the regulator couldn't comment about Worldclear's activities.

"If or when the FMA interacts with a business or individual on the FSPR, the matter is treated as confidential. If or when the FMA receives any complaints or enquiries about a business or individual on the FSPR, this also would be treated as confidential," the FMA spokesman said.

Earlier this year the FMA told interest.co.nz it had received enquiries about NZ financial service providers from 83 countries, and 340 misconduct reports from overseas about companies registered on NZ's FSPR.

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6 Comments

How is it that the language and names of these outfits all seem to indicate dodgy, even from 100 paces. But folk still go there.

And whenever we start a new correction this sort of thing come out

Build a website with stock photos. Ask for money and people give it to you based on fabricated claims about returns ranging from a Bernie Madoff through to a Charles Ponzi. People are very trusting with their investment money.

Perhaps that's how people get the deposit for a house in Auckland. Someone should run seminars.

Ambush the most naive and gullible politician or All Black you can find and pose for a picture with them. Put on website.

hmm... so, you have some story about the alleged misdeeds of Summit International, and have next to nothing to report about Summit International, so you morph it into a story about Worldclear, EBANQ, myself, Michael Magnusson, and even into your other stories about us?

The bulk of your story concerns details about Worldclear, myself, Mr Magnusson, EBANQ, with the suggestion we are somehow 'caught up' or involved in businesses, entities and transactions we either had nothing to do with, or were remotely connected solely by reason of being a financial intermediary and providing payment services?

It seems like you are more interested in Worldclear, EBANQ, myself and Mr Magnusson than the fraudsters, crooks, charlatans and scammers, and only report on the fraudsters etc. to tar us with that brush.

If you have complaints about Summit International from people who say they invested and lost money, why don't you tell their stories, and discuss the documents and evidence they provided? You never even asked me for the documents and stories I was provided with, nor asked me for the contact details of the people who contacted me, that I used to make my assessment and deal with the situation.

If you are so interested in Worldclear and EBANQ, why don't you contact us to write up something about our stories, about the challenges we face and the respective businesses we have developed in the last 3 years? If you are so interested in me or Mr Magnusson, why don't you write a biography about one or both of us?