U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 18331 / September 9, 2003
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. BENIL FINANCE, LTD.
[SEC v. Benil Finance, Ltd., Civ. No. 03-61687 (USDC S.D. Florida)]
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it has commenced a subpoena enforcement action against Benil Finance, Ltd. ("Benil"), an offshore entity, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Commission issued the subpoena on June 20, 2003, which, as extended, required Benil to produce documents by August 8, 2003.
In its Application and supporting filings, the Commission alleges that, on April 1, 2003, it issued a Formal Order Directing Private Investigation and Designating Officers to Take Testimony. The Formal Order authorizes the staff to conduct an investigation into whether certain entities and individuals made false and misleading statements concerning Hienergy Technologies, Inc. ("Hienergy") including, but not limited to, the identity of its officers, directors, control persons and major shareholders. The Commission's Application and supporting filings allege that Benil has reported owning nearly 9% of the stock of Hienergy, a Delaware corporation with offices in Irvine, California. The Application and supporting filings further allege that the president of Benil is Jeannine Gurian, the mother of recidivist Philip Gurian, and its vice president is Jeannine Gurian's live-in boyfriend, Rheal Cote, who is Hienergy's former sole director and disclosed owner of 61% of Hienergy stock.
Moreover, the Application and supporting filings allege that, on June 20, 2003, the staff issued a subpoena to Benil requiring it to produce documents concerning, among other things: (1) ownership of Hienergy stock; (2) communications with Hienergy investors and/or Philip Gurian, and (3) Benil's bank and brokerage records. The Commission asserts that these documents are relevant to its investigation. Finally, the Commission's Application and supporting filings further allege that Benil produced documents relating to two brokerage accounts in response to the subpoena, which purportedly were all of the documents in Jeannine Gurian's personal possession, but declined to produce documents relating to at least six other brokerage accounts and two bank accounts whose existence is known to the staff. According to the Application and supporting filings, Benil has informed the Commission that it has no obligation to produce documents not in Jeannine Gurian's personal possession. Pursuant to its Application, the Commission is seeking an Order directing Benil to show cause why it should not be ordered by the Court to produce documents pursuant to the Commission's subpoena and an Order requiring it to comply fully with the Commission's subpoena.