One of Jenny Hutson's lieutenants has pleaded guilty to giving false info to ASIC

Written on the 15 February 2019 by Business News Australia

One of Jenny Hutson's lieutenants has pleaded guilty to giving false info to ASIC

Mary-Anne Graves, one of the board members of Wellington Capital involved in Jenny Hutson and G8 Education's failed takeover of Affinity Education, has pleaded guilty before the Brisbane Magistrates' Court.

Graves was charged with three counts of giving false or misleading information under oath in June 2016, and today plead guilty to one of those charges.

This particular charge relates to Greaves' false denial during an ASIC examination under oath that she had not been provided information relating to the acquisition by West Bridge of Affinity shares at the time of the takeover bid by G8 Education.

The matter has been listed for a sentencing hearing before the Brisbane Magistrates' Court on 24 May 2019.

ASIC laid multiple charges against Jenny Hutson (pictured), former chair of G8 Education, in April 2018.

When Hutson was chair she stood at the centre of the company's botched takeover of Affinity.

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 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.

David Burke, also a former director of Wellington Capital, has been charged with five counts of giving false and misleading information under oath on two separate occasions; March and June 2016.

WHERE IT WENT WRONG WITH G8 AND AFFINITY

G8 approached Affinity in April 2015 to negotiate a takeover which would have added a potential 161 childcare centres to the G8 portfolio.

At the time, Affinity was a listed company and the proposed deal became subject to a Takeovers Panel probe which ultimately cost Hutson her job after it was discovered that she had connections with three separate companies that also had fingers in the Affinity pie.

Hutson was connected to Taxonomy, JB Superfund and WestBridge Holdings; all companies which had acquired a significant stake in Affinity Education and were questioned in relation to close connections with G8 Education.

The Takeovers Panel ordered that the Affinity shares accepted by G8 from Taxonomy be sold off following the probe.

The Panel also ordered G8 to withdraw its acceptances from JB Super Fund and WestBridge Holdings.

Hutson resigned from the board just days after the takeover collapsed and Affinity Education was instead sold to private equity group Anchorage Capital Partners for $212 million.

It was widely understood that Hutson was forced to bear the brunt of responsibility for the failed Affinity deal.

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