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Former NewSat chief sentenced over falsified documents

Former NewSat chief sentenced over falsified documents

Fined $15K and banned from managing a corporation for five years

Credit: Dreamstime

The former CEO of failed satellite communications provider NewSat has been sentenced after pleading guilty of authorising the making of false or misleading statements in documents required by the Corporations Act.

The County Court of Victoria found that between 18 January 2012 and 15 September 2012, Adrian Ballintine, a former director and CEO of NewSat Limited, authorised the making of three invoices for amounts totaling $357,000 to be addressed to NewSat Limited, the corporate regulator said.

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), 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,” ASIC said in a statement. 

“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 per cent of its shares in his own name and through a private company.”

NewSat was a satellite communications provider that was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) until August 2015. In April 2015, receiver managers were appointed to NewSat, with the company entering into liquidation on 7 August 2015.

It was revealed in September 2018 that the former NewSat director would stand trial after three charges were brought against him by ASIC.

In February, Ballintine pleaded guilty to one 'rolled-up' charge brought against him by the corporate regulator.

Ultimately, 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.

The outcome of the case, which was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, also sees Ballintine automatically disqualified from managing a corporation for five years.

At the same time, Jason Cullen, an accountant found by the County Court of Victoria to have raised two invoices for amounts totaling $275,000 to be addressed to NewSat Limited, has also been sentenced after pleading guilty to two charges of making a false or misleading statement in a document required by the Corporations Act.

According to ASIC, Cullen was convicted of two counts of contravening section 1308(2) of the Corporations Act and fined an amount of $7,500.


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