Creso Pharma chairman Adam Blumenthal has stepped aside after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) served the firm with a notice on Monday to produce documents “in connection with a current investigation”.
Creso told the ASX the notice identified “for the first time that ASIC’s investigation includes suspected contraventions by the company, its officers, agents, employees and representatives in relation to trading in its securities”.
It added: “Creso Pharma appears to have become involved in the ASIC investigation because of common directorships between it and its corporate adviser, EverBlu Capital.”
Blumenthal is executive chairman of EverBlu Capital, whose Sydney office was raided by Australian Federal Police last week.
Creso said it had accepted Blumenthal’s offer to stand aside from his role as chairman “in order to distance Creso Pharma’s operations and governance from the ASIC investigation”.
Executive director Dr James Ellingford will act as interim chairman and the company has established a standalone subcommittee “to address and respond to the ASIC notice” and co-operate with the investigation.
The company insisted the ASIC action would not impact its “ability to continue to operate efficiently’’ and stressed that its key business operations in Canada and Switzerland are managed by in-country senior executives who have been quarantined from the matter.