Falcon Funds tells court to prevent Swedish trader from selling €1.6 million Sliema property

The courts have been asked to prevent businessman Emil Amir Ingmanson from disposing of a €1.6 million Sliema penthouse he acquired in 2014

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Matthew Vella
18 January 2017, 8:07am
Emil Amir Ingmanson: the SPA claimed he is associated with alleged fraudulent bankruptcies
Emil Amir Ingmanson: the SPA claimed he is associated with alleged fraudulent bankruptcies
The Maltese pension fund that was kicked off the Swedish private pensions system has asked the courts to prevent businessman Emil Amir Ingmanson from disposing of a €1.6 million Sliema penthouse he acquired in 2014.

Falcon Funds, whose directors include Nationalist MP and former finance minister Tonio Fenech, is facing a criminal investigation in Sweden after the Swedish Pensions Agency accused it of being unable, or unwilling, to pay back to 22,000 investors a total of €247 million (2.4 billion Swedish kroner) in savings.

According to documents deposited in court, Bank of Valletta advanced Ingmanson – who according to the Swedish Pensions Authority has been associated with alleged fraudulent bankruptcies – a €1.4 million loan and hypothec on the Sliema penthouse.

Falcon Funds is licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority and served as one of the private pensions available in the Swedish pension system. It has now been deregistered and has to redeem all payments to its savers.

Malta’s financial regulator has appointed auditors KMPG to take control of the Maltese pension fund to ensure savers’ protection. KPMG will take charge of the assets of Falcon Funds, assume control of the business, and periodically report to the MFSA. “This measure is being taken with specific reference to the scheme following an ongoing investigation on the scheme and the termination of the Investment Management Agreement between the Scheme and Temple Asset Management Ltd, the former investment manager of the Scheme. These measures will remain in place until such time as the MFSA directs otherwise,” the MFSA said.

Falcon Funds has already returned at least €67 million in savings, and wants to carry out the total divestment of the funds in an orderly fashion so as to safeguard the value of the pension savers’ investments.

Directors Tonio Fenech, Joseph Xuereb and Ian Zammit said in a statement that they welcomed the decision, adding that they had suspended Temple Asset Management from acting as the SICAV’s manager over decisions that had negatively impacted the investments of the SICAV. “Falcon Funds SICAV instituted legal proceeding against Temple Asset Management and Emil Ingmanson. In the circumstances the directors of the SICAV agree with the appointment of KPMG. The directors of the SICAV will assist KPMG in the execution of their mandate.”

Tonio Fenech, one of Falcon Funds’s three directors, said the MFSA’s decision was welcomed
Tonio Fenech, one of Falcon Funds’s three directors, said the MFSA’s decision was welcomed
Falcon accuses Temple and Ingmanson

Emil Amir Ingmanson, a mysterious Swedish businessman who acted as an introducer for Falcon Funds to the Swedish pensions authority, is now being sued by Falcon Funds.

The pension fund says its investment manager, Temple Asset Management, invested over €10 million in savers’ cash in investment instruments owned by Ingmanson himself.

Falcon Funds says that Ingmanson’s Solid Venture ETI was issued to advance a loan to Swedish payday loan company, Trustbuddy, which later went bankrupt. But when Temple Asset Management requested the redemption of this investment, it was the same Ingmanson who determined the value that Solid Venture had to pay, resulting in a €2.7 million loss.

Ingmanson has in the past had several Maltese addresses. In a glaring conflict of interest, Ingmanson planned to take over Falcon Funds’ investment decisions by setting up his own firm – Falcon Asset Management – and replace Temple Asset Management.

The directors of Falcon Asset Management included Tonio Depasquale, the former Bank of Valletta chief executive. FAM is ultimately owned by two Isle of Man companies, but Ingmanson actually registered the company with one nominal share before transferring it to FAM’s immediate parent, Falcon Asset Holdings.

Falcon Funds now accuse Temple Asset Management of acting in bad faith and of hiding a serious conflict of interest.

The accusation seems to confirm the very same accusations of the Swedish Pensions Authority (SPA) when it kicked Falcon Funds out of its private pension platform. At the time, Tonio Fenech had defended Ingmanson, saying he was the subject of an unfair press in Sweden.

 “The claims made of the links with Ingmanson are at the least speculative,” Fenech said in June 2016, describing him as a “person of repute” and even declaring that he had “no involvement in the selling or investments decisions of the fund.”

Now, Falcon Funds are accusing TAM of investing money in financial instruments to directly benefit Ingmanson’s business, without having been informed of this conflict of interest.

But when the SPA pointed out this conflict, Fenech was adamant that there was nothing to back up these allegations.

Falcon Funds are now saying they were unaware that Ingmanson was connected to Solid Venture, when the money from its €276 million pension fund was used to invest in the instrument Solid Venture P2P. “Falcon was assured by TAM that this connection did not exist at the time the investment was made. Ingmanson procured the Solid Venture P2P investment to use for his Solid Venture [company], which interest was not declared to Falcon.”

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.