Former Newsat CEO Adrian Ballintine has avoided imprisonment after pleading guilty to authorising and creating false or misleading documents.
Ballantine was charged in December 2017 after an ASIC investigation found that he had authorised the creation of three falsified invoices, which caused $357,000 of NewSat’s money to be funneled into a private yacht business he owned.
The former Newsat boss was initially charged with three counts of breaching the Corporations Act, which were eventually rolled up into a single charge.
The charges carried a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, though Ballantine managed to get off with a $15,000 fine instead. He was also disqualified from managing a corporation for five years.
“Mr Ballintine held a position of trust and was obliged to protect the interest of NewSat,” said presiding judge Sarah Dawes. “His conduct was knowingly dishonest and financially motivated. Such conduct erodes public confidence in the share market and public companies.”
ASIC commissioner John Price added: “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.”
NewSat was an ASX-listed company with plans to become Australia’s only privately-owned satellite operator. Those plans were scuttled when the company sank into receivership in April 2015, owing $500 million to its financiers. NewSat was subsequently placed into liquidation on 7 August 2015.
NewSat’s financial consultant Jason Cullen was also charged with two counts of creating false invoices while he was the finance chief of the questionable yacht business. He was fined $7500.