The corporate watchdog has charged former Bellamy’s director Jan Cameron with masking her true stake in the infant formula business via a mysterious offshore investor in the firm.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said on Friday it was charging the Tasmanian businesswoman, 67, with failing to disclose 14 million Bellamy’s shares she owned via Curacao-domiciled investor The Black Prince Foundation, when the formula company went public in August 2014.
ASIC also alleges Ms Cameron – following an acrimonious boardroom battle in early 2017 – lodged with Bellamy’s an initial substantial holder notice that was misleading, on the basis that it failed to properly disclose her true and complete relationship with Black Prince, and the basis upon which she held a 14.74 per cent interest in the company.
A Bellamy’s shareholder revolt in 2017 resulted in the removal of chief executive Laura McBain, with Black Prince accused of using its voting power to attempt to roll the board.
Ms Cameron, the founder of outdoor apparel brand Kathmandu, faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
The case is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and a hearing is listed for a mention in the Hobart Magistrates Court on March 12.
The Corporations Act dictates that a person must lodge a substantial holder notice with the company and the relevant market operator if their shareholding exceeds or begins to exceed 5.0 per cent.
Bellamy’s was sold to the China Mengniu Dairy Company last year in a deal that netted Ms Cameron a reported $300 million.