John Falconer, a former director and chief financial officer of software startup TZ Limited, has been extradited from Thailand to face dishonesty charges in Sydney’s Central Local Court.
The charges follow an investigation by corporate regulator ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) which alleges $6.25 million of TZ Limited’s funds were transferred to entities associated with Falconer and to those associated with Andrew Sigalla, another former director of TZ Limited.
TZ Limited, now chaired by Mark Bouris, the founder of Wizard Home Loans and the current chair of Yellow Brick Road, is an ASX-listed company which develops intelligent devices and smart systems.
Its latest results show revenue in 2017 of $21.8 million, up 4.5%, and an overall loss of $6.48 million. Its shares last traded at $0.035, valuing the company at $17.6 million.
The charges against Falconer include 16 counts of using his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of gaining an advantage for himself or others and two counts of giving false or misleading information to the ASX.
Each offence carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
ASIC alleges the money was moved between December 2006 and September 2008 when Falconer was a director of TZ Limited.
The regulator also alleges that in 2008 and 2009 Falconer lodged financial reports with the ASX which failed to disclose the true nature of certain payments.
Falconer left Australia in March 2012 during ASIC’s investigation and did not return. Following a request from the Australian Government, the Thai Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Falconer. In June this year Falconer consented to be extradited to Australia.
Falconer arrived back yesterday, escorted by officers of the Australian Federal Police.
In November last year, Andrew Sigalla, the other former director of TZ Limited, was found guilty by a NSW Supreme Court jury of 24 counts of dishonest conduct.
The court found that Sigalla used his position as a director dishonestly to gain an advantage for himself or others, by causing over $8.7 million in company funds to be transferred to either himself, his related entities or others.
The court heard that funds transferred to Sigalla’s accounts were then largely used to reduce his debt with bookmaker Tom Waterhouse or to make mortgage payments on behalf of one of his personal companies.
He was sentenced to 10 years jail with a non-parole period of six years. Sigalla is appealing.