Former NewSat CEO sentenced

Mr Adrian Maxwell Ballintine, 64, of Yaroomba, Queensland has been sentenced by the County Court of Victoria following his entering of a plea of guilty to one charge of authorising the making of false or misleading statements in documents required by, or for the purposes, of the Corporations Act.

The Court found that between 18 January 2012 and 15 September 2012, Mr Ballintine, a former director and chief executive officer of NewSat Limited, authorised the making of three invoices for amounts totaling $357,000 to be addressed to NewSat Limited (NewSat). The invoices were issued for purported financial and advisory services, however no such services were provided to NewSat.

Following the issuing of the invoices, NewSat made payments totaling $357,000 to an accounting and financial advisory firm, with NewSat receiving no benefit for the payment. Of the total paid by NewSat, $320,000 was then transferred to Cresta Motor Yachts Pty Ltd, being a company for which Mr Ballintine was a director and in which he held 73% of its shares in his own name and through a private company.

Mr Ballintine was convicted of one count of contravening section 1308(2) of the Corporations Act – being a single charge covering each of the three invoices issued – and fined an amount of $15,000.

Mr Ballintine is also automatically disqualified from managing a corporation for five years.

In delivering sentence, Judge Sarah Dawes said:

‘Mr Ballintine held a position of trust and was obliged to protect the interest of NewSat. His conduct was knowingly dishonest and financially motivated. Such conduct erodes public confidence in the share market and public companies.’

ASIC Commissioner John Price said, ‘Making a false and misleading statement is a serious offence.’

‘Directors should be on notice that ASIC will take action when their conduct falls short of required professional standards.’

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Background

NewSat was a satellite communications provider that was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange until 31 August 2015.

On 17 April 2015, receiver managers were appointed to NewSat, with the company entering into liquidation on 7 August 2015.

Cresta Motor Yachts Pty Ltd was a Queensland company which was involved in the design, manufacture and distribution of luxury motor yachts.

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