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ASIC to appeal in One.Tel case

ASIC to appeal in One.Tel case

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has announced its plan to appeal last month's NSW Supreme Court decision in the almost decade long One.Tel saga.

THE Australian Securities and Investments Commission has announced its plan to appeal last month’s NSW Supreme Court decision in the almost decade long One.Tel saga.

ASIC has today lodged a notice of intention to appeal in the NSW Court of Appeal in respect of the 18 November decision dismissing ASIC’s civil penalty proceedings against One.Tel’s former joint managing director Jodee Rich and the company’s financial director, Mark Silbermann.

In 2001, ASIC commenced civil proceedings against Rich and Silbermann in relation to the company’s collapse in 2001. It sought rulings from the court of the duties and obligations of officers to disclose a company’s financial position to the board and the market.

PBL and News were to underwrite a $132 million rights issue by One.Tel in early 2001. But this was cancelled as the company’s independent directors believed it was not enough money to keep the telco going.

It is on this abandoned rights issue that future possible legal action may turn.

News Ltd said on Wednesday that the judgment in the case brought by ASIC “in no way invalidates the legitimate concerns we had at the time”.

ASIC chairman Tony D’Aloisio said the case should provide important guidance to executives and directors on the exchange of information between the board and management.

The case also shed light on several legal issues, said D’Aloisio, a former Mallesons Stephen Jaques managing partner. It revealed the additional responsibilities of the chairman of a public company, particularly one with a finance and accounting background and considerable experience on public boards.

“The case has also provided important guidance to ASIC on how to run similar matters in the future,” he said.


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