The US Securities and Exchange Commission has jointly submitted a letter with the lawyers representing two former employees of DeVere USA requesting the court allow them more time for fact discovery.
The court has granted this request.
The letter, dated 3 June 2019 and seen by International Adviser, requests that an extension to the 30 September 2019 be granted, as there are “two motions pending in this matter concerning claims of privilege made by defendants’ former employer, DeVere USA”.
It adds: “In addition, defendants’ requests to the designated central authority of the Republic of Malta, made pursuant to the Hague Convention on the taking of evidence abroad in civil or commercial matters, have been served on the Malta Office of the Attorney General, but are pending resolution in Malta.”
An earlier version of this story stated that the SEC was one of the parties that submitted the request to the Maltese authorities. This was not accurate and International Adviser apologises to DeVere Group for the error.
The letter further states that depositions of at least three fact witnesses cannot proceed “without resolution of DeVere’s privilege claims”.
The additional time requested by the three parties is needed “to conduct international discovery, including document production from DeVere’s parent corporation and depositions of two Maltese residents”.
The above is, however, also dependent on the Maltese court ordering the production of the documents and testimony requested by the defendants and the “effective and complete examination of other witnesses also depends on the resolution of these issues and the requested discovery”, the letter added.
A spokesperson for DeVere Group said: “The SEC is pursuing a case against a former employee of DeVere USA – not DeVere USA, nor [group chief executive] Nigel Green.
“To date, Nigel Green has not received any requests for information, Mr Green has not refused to give documentation to anyone requesting it.”
The case has been ongoing for a year and involves Benjamin Alderson, who was chief executive of DeVere USA, and former area manager Bradley Hamilton who were charged by the US regulator in June 2018.
They are accused of defrauding clients about the benefits of irreversibly transferring their UK pensions to an offshore pension plan, while concealing serious conflicts of interest.
DeVere USA separately agreed to pay an $8m (£6.3m, €7m) civil penalty in June last year to settle its involvement in the case.