Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds used an autographed bat to lock in a seven-figure loan with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia that he then invested with the failed Storm Financial Services, a former Storm executive alleges.
The Australian Financial Review reports that a Storm adviser offered the autographed cricket bat in 2007 in order to waive the cost of mortgage insurance for Symonds. The cricketer is believed to have lost about $1 million when the company collapsed in January.
The adviser was negotiating the loan with CBA’s Aitkenvale branch in Townsville, Queensland, the former senior executive alleges in a signed affidavit.
A CBA spokesman said a staff member did accept the cricket bat after it was offered by Storm but denied it was used to gain preferential treatment.
Symonds’s manager refused to comment on the allegations about the cricket bat or the star’s finances.
The affidavit will be provided to a federal parliamentary inquiry into financial services that was set up following the collapse of Storm Financial and Opes Prime, the AFR reports.
It reportedly states that CBA branch officials indicated they would give the cricketing star more favourable terms once they learned the loan was for him.
The Storm adviser negotiating the deal then reportedly offered to throw in a signed cricket bat if the bank waived the mortgage insurance payment.
This was agreed and the loan was approved, the unnamed official stated.
Symonds, who appeared in radio advertisements for the company, used a loan against two properties to take out a margin loan that was then invested in Storm-branded products.
CBA’s Aitkenvale branch is the subject of numerous allegations that large numbers of loans from around the country were channelled through its office, as well the Bank of Queensland’s North Ward branch in Townsville.
Storm’s founders Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis put the company into voluntary administration in January after being unable to meet a repayment demand from CBA.
The company was liquidated in March, on the order of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, after the Cassimatises proposed a deed of company arrangement that would have let them regain control and escape legal action.