Jenny Hutson sidekick avoids jail

Written on the 17 June 2019 by Business News Australia

Jenny Hutson sidekick avoids jail

A former director of Wellington Capital found guilty of giving false or misleading information has been given a light sentence thanks to her cooperation with authorities.

Mary-Anne Greaves has been discharged without proceeding to conviction after giving the Brisbane Magistrate's Court a security of $5,000 on the condition of good behaviour for two years.

The matter stems from a 2015 bid for childcare operator Affinity - an offer launched by G8 Education (ASX: GEM) whose then-chair Jenny Hutson was affiliated with other companies that had acquired stakes in the target group.

Hutson, who also founded Wellington Capital, ultimately lost her job after a Takeovers Panel probe discovered her links to Affinity shareholders Taxonomy, JB Superfund and WestBridge Holdings.

When investigations were in full swing in June 2016, Greaves gave a false denial during an examination under oath by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), claiming she had not been provided information relating to the acquisition by West Bridge of Affinity shares at the time of G8's bid.

Earlier this year Greaves pleaded guilty to one charge of three against her, and in giving his verdict Magistrate Ehric noted she would have likely been imprisoned for six months if it weren't for her cooperation in the prosecution of others.

"ASIC views seriously any attempt by individuals to compromise its investigations, including giving false or misleading information during examinations. ASIC will hold to account persons who seek to obstruct or hinder its investigations," says ASIC Commissioner John Price.

Another one of Hutson's board members, David Burke, has been charged with with five counts of giving false and misleading information under oath on two separate occasions; March and June 2016.

Hutson was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice under the Crimes Act and 15 counts of giving false and misleading information under the ASIC Act.

Further charges against her include 10 counts of authorising the giving of false or misleading information to an operator of a financial market, as well as two counts of dishonest use of position as a director under the Corporations Act.

Hutson also faces one count of dishonestly failing to exercise her powers and discharge her duties as a director under the Corporations Act.

Committal hearing are due for Burke and Hutson on 29 July and 30 September respectively.

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