License article

Sonray founder likely to plead guilty

Sonray founder Russell Johnson is likely to plead guilty to criminal charges over the broker’s collapse in 2010, a court has heard.

Last year, Johnson pleaded not guilty to 24 theft and fraud charges involving more than $6.5 million.

However, at a mention in the Victorian Supreme Court today, Johnson’s defence lawyer told Justice Betty King that a plea agreement had almost been reached with the prosecution and the matter was expected to be resolved within the next five days.

A pre-sentence plea hearing has been tentatively booked for late March.

Sonray, which provided contracts for difference using a platform provided by Saxo Bank, held about $77 million on behalf of 3500 clients.

However, after it went into administration in June 2010 it was discovered the company had a shortfall of $46.7 million.

It numbered among its clients the high-profile Deague family, which owns hotel developer Asian Pacific Building Corporation.

Johnson, of Toorak, faces two charges of conspiracy to commit theft, two charges of conspiracy to engage in false accounting, one charge of conspiracy to obtain financial advantage by deception, 17 charges of theft and two charges of submitting a false document to ASIC.

The conspiracy and theft charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years jail while the false document charges carry a maximum penalty of five years jail.