iSignthis takes ASX to court

Written on the 5 December 2019 by Matt Ogg

iSignthis takes ASX to court

It has now been more than two months since payment identity verifier iSignthis (ASX: ISX) was suspended from trading, and the company's board has had enough.

iSignthis was riding high until a report from Ownership Matters in September raised concerns over the release of performance shares to top executives, prompting a wave of ASX queries into the fine details of the business including its market disclosures.

On 2 October this culminated in the ASX suspending ISX shares from official quotation, pending the outcome of queries made by the share market operator in consultation with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

On 11 November iSignthis told the market it had received a note from the corporate regulator that the ASX's decision to suspend ISX shares was not made under the direction of ASIC.

"It has taken us more than a month to get an answer to a simple question about who actually asked for the suspension of ISX shares," iSignthis chief executive John Karantzis (pictured) said at the time.

The Melbourne-based company provided another in-depth response to ASX queries a week later, but the ASX still hasn't made a call to allow trading to re-commence. It appears the board's patience has now been pushed to the limit.

In an announcement today the group said commenced legal proceedings against ASX Limited in the Federal Court to challenge its decisions, and is seeking orders requiring the ASX to lift the suspension.

"We have taken this step in order to lift the suspension of ISX's shares. We are acting in the interest of our shareholders, as they have been denied the basic right to trade our shares for too long," says chairman Tim Hart.

The company says it regrets having to take judicial action, and Karantzis reiterates "the company has responded promptly to each request for information from the ASX".

"We have answered scores of questions and provided more than 2000 pages of confidential documents dating back almost three years," he says.

"We have been patient and acted in good faith, but the Company's shares have been suspended for nine weeks."

Since the Company's shares were suspended, ISX has answered diverse questions from the ASX such as:

  • Why a bundled service is billed on a bundled basis;
  • Why it selected a particular European bank to hold client funds;
  • How much did a change to Apple's privacy settings last year affect revenue;
  • What website names are used by a customer;
  • How its revenue is broken down by country; and
  • Whether or not it offers services for initial coin offerings (ISX does not).

In concluding its update, the company said it believed interactions with the ASX during the last nine weeks raised issue of procedural fairness and good faith, as well as a substantive question about the actual reason for the suspension.

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Author: Matt Ogg

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