The corporate watchdog has been blasted over trying to introduce documents relating to former Tennis Australia director and adman Harold Mitchell’s old private business Aegis, which the regulator believes might show a commercial relationship between him and Seven during negotiations for the rights to broadcast the Australian Open in 2013.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) copped a battering from Justice Jonathan Beach at the Federal Court in Melbourne on Wednesday over its last-minute bid to introduce new evidence to aid its case against Mr Mitchell and former Tennis Australia president Steve Healy. The court heard the evidence had come to light after ASIC has been contacted by an anonymous whistleblower.
The court heard ASIC took the unusual step of using its coercive powers to issue notices to the current owner of Mitchell Media, Aegis Group, during the trial, rather than asking the court to issue notices.
The accusation was made during the civil penalty proceedings launched by ASIC against Mr Mitchell and Mr Healy alleging the pair had acted inappropriately by helping Seven secure the tennis rights over other potential bidders.