Waratah Resources Limited’s former executive chairman Benjamin David Kirkpatrick was convicted in the Sydney District Court after pleading guilty to a charge brought by ASIC of aiding and abetting Waratah Resources to breach its continuous disclosure obligations. Mr Kirkpatrick has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, to be served as a 12-month Intensive Correction Order.
The conduct relates to a company announcement on 14 October 2013 asserting that Waratah Resources had established a $100 million trade finance facility with the Bank of China when no such facility had been established or agreed upon. Between 14 and 25 October 2013, Mr Kirkpatrick failed to correct this announcement, thereby causing Waratah Resources to breach its continuous disclosure obligations.
In pleading guilty, Mr Kirkpatrick, 44, of Tamarama in NSW, also admitted to an offence of having authorised false information to the market, which the Court took into account in sentencing.
As a result of his conviction, Mr Kirkpatrick is automatically banned under the Corporations Act from managing a corporation for five years.
ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said:
This prosecution highlights the importance of the continuous disclosure obligations to directors and officers of listed companies. The integrity of our markets requires company officers to ensure that material information is made available in a timely and accurate way.