The Serious Fraud Office, assisted by the Financial Markets Authority, executed search warrants on the 23 May in relation to an investigation of Dunedin-based financial adviser, Barry Kloogh, Executive Director of Breathe Financial.
The action follows inquiries by the FMA, leading to a referral to the SFO.
The FMA stated it is working to secure and preserve client funds and will be assessing any matters relating to the Financial Advisers Act and supporting the SFO investigation.
The company’s website breathefinancial.co.nz has since been replaced with a message from its collective staff.
The staff said they were shocked and effectively suspended from their employment, without pay.
“However, we collectively believe that Breathe’s clients deserve our best professional efforts and we want to communicate as much information as we currently possess, to better inform you. As we understand it, the SFO is investigating all aspects of Barry Kloogh’s commercial activities, but particularly his investment activities,” staff said.
They said the investigation effectively ‘freezes’ Breathe’s financial and investment services, until it is concluded.
“None of us are personally involved in the investment side of Breathe – that has been Barry Kloogh’s sole responsibility. We have no information at this time as to those investments,” staff added. “We intend to stand with you in the weeks ahead.”
The SFO and FMA declined to provide any further details at this stage of the inquiry as it is ongoing. They have called for anyone with relevant information to the investigation to contact them.