Former councillor prosecuted over ‘false’ $500m claim

FORMER Toodyay shire councillor Ben Bell (right) is being prosecuted by Australia’s corporate watchdog for allegedly misleading overseas investors over a claimed $500 million deal that government lawyers say did not exist.

He is also accused of making “false and misleading” representations to investors in London and Hong Kong about a $5 billion deal with a South Korean manufacturer of electric batteries for motor vehicles.

Former Cr Bell stood unsuccessfully in a secret council ballot for Toodyay shire president in 2019 before resigning from the council at the end of January this year.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is seeking Federal Court orders for Mr Bell to be fined and barred from managing a corporation for a period of time to be decided by the court.

Court documents show that the alleged “serious” corporate offences are claimed to have occurred in April and May 2018 when Mr Bell was serving as a Toodyay shire councillor.

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