“Time to close a chapter, and get on with expanding the business and creating further shareholder wealth,” Karantzis cryptically tweeted before Tuesday’s announcement.
Southern Cross’ most recent quarterly filing showed $5.05 million had been spent on legal and advisory costs since the first half of 2021. Even factoring in the Federal Court down payment, it would have been a 6000 per cent return on investment if Karantzis’ promised damages ever materialised.
Yet, the board of ISX Financial EU Plc apparently “decided that continuing funding of the case against the ASX Ltd was not in the economic interest of its shareholders, and has elected to instead reinvest into its business, at far more compelling economic returns”. Oh yeah, for sure!
Only a year ago Karantzis was crowing of impending victory in “one of Australia’s largest civil damages cases” after obtaining ASX documents during legal discovery. The cartoon pirate treasure chest he attached to his LinkedIn posts clearly remains submerged at the bottom of the ocean.
We’d suggest shareholders have perhaps been misled, but that’s more the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s area of expertise, which is alleging that Karantzis deceived his shareholders when he said 15 per cent of revenues earned during the bonus calculation period were non-recurring (it was more like 75 per cent).
Or maybe it’s the Australian Taxation Office, which devoted a whole section in its assessment of Karantzis’ $10 million shortfall entitled: “Your steps to conceal your true tax position and those of your associates”. Karantzis, unsurprisingly, says the ATO got it wrong.
When the ATO barred him from leaving the country, Karantzis pleaded he would return from overseas business travel as his “wife and children reside in Australia”, only to be seeking five months later to lift a freezing order so his wife and children could access their funds in Cyprus, where they reside.
Fool us once, sure. But fool us 464 million times…