Perth junior facing ASIC and ASX investigations

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Both the ASX and Australian Securities and Investments Commission are investigating junior explorer Paynes Find gold and its colourful chief executive Peter Salter.

According to The Australian ASIC has formed a special taskforce to examine how the company took nine months to spend almost all of the $9 million it raised from investors.

The ASX has also issued the company with a number of queries over its disclosure of price-sensitive news to the market.

In 2005 ASIC banned Salter from serving as a company director for 3.5 years after his role in two failed companies.

The investigations are the latest bad news for the company, which last month faced protests from major shareholders.

While unsuccessful, the rebel shareholders called for company director Carl Popal to seize full control of the business.

Shareholders said they had become increasingly frustrated with the Paynes Find management over its lack of progress.

There was also criticism of the miner’s disproportionate spending, with administrative fees at times costing almost three times more than exploration fees.

In early December major shareholder Steve Zielinski called on ASIC to investigate the company “before shareholders lose all their money”.

Company chairman Paul Berresford previously told The Australian spending at Paynes Find was under control and its losses were not unusual for a junior explorer.

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