A Hong Kong company had dealings with a global network of alleged scam stock-trading firms that police suspect were laundering billions of dollars through offshore accounts. Acceptor Trust Corporation has become one of the focal points of an investigation tracing a global money trail. This emerged the week Thai police investigators returned from Australia after interviewing victims of the alleged scam. Although Acceptor did business with suspected scam companies, there is no suggestion it was aware of, or involved in, the fraudulent activity of its clients. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) also revealed that it had launched a parallel investigation. The Sunday Morning Post has learned that Acceptor, which provides 'off the shelf' offshore companies and related services, was recruited by a network of men believed to be behind one of Asia's most lucrative financial scams. In August, Hong Kong banks froze $700 million worth of accounts - thought to represent just a fraction of the actual profits - allegedly linked to these scam firms and their beneficiaries. Among Acceptor's clients were Benson Dupont Capital Management, the target of a major police investigation in Thailand. But at least a dozen other connected firms were among its customers. These so-called 'boiler room' companies, invariably registered in obscure offshore locations, targeted wealthy businessmen across Asia, Europe and America. They promised them high-yield returns from investments in Nasdaq-listed companies. According to their alleged victims, once they had lured them into their scheme they continued to milk them. Investigators believe the scam companies would either take any profits on shares or simply pocket investors' money and never buy the shares. In August, the Post revealed that many of these companies ran virtual offices in Hong Kong in the hope investors would be impressed by the territory's good name. In reality, these companies were physically based in Thailand, the Philippines or Indonesia and would have office service providers to forward mail, telephone calls and electronic information. But now the Post has discovered that many of the companies also used the services of other companies in the Acceptor group. The Acceptor group, based in Central, caters for between 1,500 and 2,000 companies. Many clients are attracted by the company's low profile and discretion. Nominee directors and shareholders are used to help conceal the identity of the beneficiary. Acceptor's two leading lights are Frank Mullens, a former Price Waterhouse partner, and Robert Hinchcliffe, an accountant. Acceptor is an associate company of Offshore Incorporations Limited (OIL), one of the major wholesale suppliers of offshore companies in Asia. There is no suggestion that OIL was aware of, or involved in, any of the fraudulent activities. An Acceptor company source said that an Acceptor executive, through a mutual contact, met a group of Australian, Canadian, Irish and British businessmen in Bangkok. Some of these men, who told Acceptor they had set up a series of 'investment companies', are understood to have been arrested when Thai police launched their crackdown in August. Seven people have since been charged with illegal share trading, but the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission told the Post it expected them to be charged with fraud. Mr Mullens refused to comment when approached. But a company source said: 'As soon as we found out that these companies were blacklisted by Asic we informed the clients and then informed the Hong Kong Police.' The police were called into Acceptor in August. The blacklisted firms are understood to have been on Acceptor's books for at least 12 months. Although the Commercial Crime Bureau is leading the investigation, the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau is assisting because of suspected money laundering. Detective Senior Inspector Connie Yau, of CCB, said: 'We are not going to say anything about this company.'