ASIC reaches agreement with One.Tel director

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has reached an agreement with Bradley Keeling, a former director of collapsed telecommunications company, One.Tel.

ASIC said that under the agreement - should it be approved by the Supreme Court - Mr Keeling would be banned from being a director or manager of any corporation for between 10 and 15 years.

It recommended that the banning period be at the lower end of that range, citing the former director’s “contrition and co-operation” with the regulator during its investigation.

Keeling would also be found liable for compensation of $92 million to One.Tel.

This amount is reportedly equivalent to the fall in One.Tel’s value during the alleged breach in director’s duties.

The former director would also be ordered to pay ASIC’s costs – a sum of $750,000.

The agreement was considered by Supreme Court judge, Justice Bryson, yesterday.

ASIC said Justice Bryson has reserved a decision on the agreement pending consideration of some legal issues inherent in it.

Under the agreement with ASIC, Keeling has admitted to contraventions of the Corporations Act 2001 between February and May 2001 in relation to the discharge of his duties as a director of One.Tel.

“Mr Keeling denies that he deliberately misled the board and the market, but admits that he failed to take the reasonable steps he should have in order to apprise himself of the true financial position of the company during that period,” ASIC said.

The securities regulator is currently involved in legal proceedings against four One.Tel directors following the company’s collapse in May 2001 – Jodee Rich, Mark Silbermann, John Greaves and Bradley Keeling. Keeling is the first to have reached an agreement with ASIC. An ASIC spokesperson said that proceedings against the other three directors continue, but the regulator is not in a position to make any comment on such proceedings.

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