David Justin Burke, of Natural Bridge, Queensland, has been committed to stand trial on five charges following a committal hearing before the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court.
Five charges of giving false or misleading information to ASIC during examinations under oath in March and June 2016 were brought by ASIC following an investigation into a 2015 takeover bid by G8 Education Limited (G8 Education) for ASX-listed Affinity Education Group Limited (Affinity) (18-094MR).
The investigation included enquiries into alleged undisclosed arrangements between G8 Education and West Bridge Holdings Pty Ltd (West Bridge) for the acquisition of Affinity shares as part of the takeover bid.
The charges relate to false information given by Mr Burke on 16 March and 1 June 2016 during ASIC examinations under oath relating to his relationship with the director of West Bridge.
Burke was committed to stand trial in the District Court of Queensland on a date to be fixed.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
G8 Education is a childcare provider listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
In July 2015, G8 Education announced a takeover bid for Affinity after acquiring shares in that company up to the takeover threshold. Following that announcement, West Bridge acquired 11,300,000 Affinity shares between 13 and 28 July 2015.
On 5 October 2015, the Takeovers Panel made a declaration of unacceptable circumstances in relation to G8’s takeover bid. As part of that declaration, the Panel found that there was an undisclosed association between G8 Education and West Bridge in the acquisition of Affinity shares.
ASIC has the power to compel a person to appear before it and give evidence under oath if ASIC suspects or believes that the person can give information relevant to an investigation. It is an offence to give false or misleading to ASIC during such an examination, with the maximum penalty being imprisonment for two years, 100 penalty units (currently $21,000) or both.