A court has heard the case of missing Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick is now a murder investigation, a claim NSW Police have denied.
Ms Caddick, 49, left her Dover Heights home for a run about two weeks ago but without taking her mobile phone, wallet or keys and hasn’t been seen since.
Her property had recently been raided by Australian Federal Police as part of an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Ms Caddick is the director of a Sydney consulting firm Maliver Pty Ltd, the subject of civil proceeding filed by ASIC earlier in November.
When the ASIC case returned to the Federal Court in Sydney on Friday, Justice Jayne Jagot was told issues around a power of attorney have complicated the question of who should be representing Ms Caddick’s interests.
Barrister Jane Muir, for Ms Caddick, said the power of attorney might not be operative due to improperly completed paperwork.
Ms Muir said Ms Caddick’s husband, Anthony Koletti, and her brother, Adam Grimley, were among relatives instructing lawyers.
But Mr Grimley was finding it difficult due to the ongoing investigation, she said.
“I understand [Mr Grimley] is also assisting the police with what is now a murder investigation,” Ms Muir told the court.
However, in a statement NSW Police denied Ms Muir’s claim a case had become a murder investigation.
“It is a missing person investigation until we have evidence to the contrary,” a police spokesperson said.
“If people have information about the missing woman they need to call Crime Stoppers ASAP.”
There is no suggestion that Mr Grimley or Mr Koletti are a suspect in the disappearance of Ms Caddick.
Last week, Mr Grimley and Mr Koletti made a public appeal for help finding Ms Caddick.
Ms Muir said ASIC had also seized documents that might be required for Ms Caddick’s legal team to consider and prepare evidence.
“They’re the practical problems we confront, and I’d like the court to be mindful of the fact that the people who are going to need to give instructions are dealing with the fact that their sister and wife is currently missing.”
Legal mechanisms regarding a person’s estate did not take effect until they had been missing for 90 days, Ms Muir added.
“Two weeks isn’t a very long time and we just don’t know whether there might be further developments in the near future.”
ASIC had failed to show “any real need for urgency” in the case, Ms Muir argued.
The watchdog’s barrister acknowledged the “difficult circumstances and challenges posed by Ms Caddick’s current status as a missing person”.
Justice Jagot previously made an order preventing Ms Caddick from leaving Australia or selling any assets.
The case was adjourned until December.