UPDATE: Serious Fraud Office opens Intueri probe
UPDATE: The Serious Fraud Office says it is making inquiries into Intueri Education Group under Part 1 of the Serious Fraud Office Act.
In a statement, it said: “The SFO is conducting some inquiries under Part 1 in relation to Intueri Education Group”.
The section relates to the exercise of SFO powers “where the director has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud”.
Under Part 1, the SFO may require documents to be produced, require someone to answer questions, or seek a search warrant.
EARLIER: Listed education provider Intueri has disclosed the Serious Fraud Office is making inquiries into its subsidiary Quantum Education Group.
In a statement to the NZX, it said: “Intueri Education Group (NZX/ASX: IQE) has today received notice from the Serious Fraud Office of an enquiry into the affairs of the Intueri Education Group. The notice requests information relating to one of Intueri’s colleges, Quantum Education Group.”
NBR will keep readers updated as further details emerge.
Intueri shares plummeted 35% to 35c on the news.
Intueri has previously been the subject of inquiries by the Financial Markets Authority into aspects of prospectus documents published for its 2014 initial public offer.
On December 15, Intueri said the FMA had decided to take no action as a result of the inquiry.
In a statement, it said: “The FMA did express a view, relevant to its guidelines, that certain elements of the prospectus could have been more clearly and effectively described, and has recommended Intueri give further consideration as to how student enrolment data is disclosed in future communications. As outlined in its December 2015 shareholder newsletter, IQE has provided an explanation of its key enrolments metrics and is looking to provide this data in its future reporting.
Intueri chairman Chris Kelly said: “The Intueri Board is committed to being transparent and open in all communications, providing shareholders with useful and relevant information and ensuring the company meets its regulatory obligations.”
NBR has published a series of articles about the performance and reporting of Intueri’s main domestic subsidiary Quantum Education Group, raising concerns about its claims of high student completion rates that were incompatible with the real numbers of students it enrolled.
Those claims of high completion rates featured in Intueri’s prospectus, which sold shares to the public at $2.35 in May 2014.
Intueri shares have slumped since the float as the company disclosed underperformance at Quantum was affecting its results.
See also: Today's NBR Print edition - Missing links expose hole in TEC