Former CEO of failed media company Big Un faces insider trading charges

Former CEO of failed media company Big Un faces insider trading charges

The former CEO of Big Un, a collapsed media company that was worth as much as $840 million in 2018, is facing insider trading charges brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in the latest salvo by the corporate watchdog against the company.

Richard Evans, who is also known as Richard Simon Evertz, appeared via his lawyer in the Downing Centre Local Court today on the charges brought by ASIC.

The matter has been listed for mention on 11 April 2023 and is part of an ongoing investigation into the officers and executives of Big Un which collapsed in 2018 following a controversial run on the ASX boards.

ASIC has alleged that Evans gave inside information about Big Un to a shareholder on or around 10 January 2017.

The information related to the number of customers that had been onboarded to purchase Big Un’s promotional “TV Show” package at a cost of $12,000, together with a $20 million funding arrangement with Finstro, a product of Sydney-based financier First Class Capital, which allowed customers to make this purchase on deferred payment terms.

ASIC last year brought legal action against the auditor of Big Un, Graham Rothesay Swan, who was convicted for failing to conduct the audit of Big Un Limited in compliance with auditing standards.

The watchdog alleged that Swan signed an independent auditor’s report which stated the financial report of Big Un gave a true and fair value of the company’s financial position and its performance at 30 June 2017.

The corporate regulator described the report as false or misleading as the company collapsed shortly thereafter.

Big Un was founded by Evans' son Brandon Evertz who listed the company on the ASX in 2014 following a reverse takeover of Republic Gold.

The media company, which was the parent company of video production platform Big Review TV (BRTV) and was started by Brandon Evertz with a $500 loan from his father, made video content for clients and hosted it on the BRTV platform.

The company was valued as much as $840 million in November 2017 before being placed into administration six months later.

Big Un’s controversial history was heightened by revelations in early 2018 that Richard Evans had allegedly been jailed for blackmailing men in public toilets by impersonating a police officer in the past.

Although Big Un insisted that Evans’ past convictions did not require disclosure and did not amount to criminal conduct, he resigned as CEO of the company.

ASIC notes that Big Un was one of the top performing shares listed on the ASX in 2017. The company’s shares were suspended from trading in February 2018 after information about Big Un’s funding arrangement with First Class Capital was released.

Big Un, which was placed in voluntary administration and delisted from the ASX in August 2018, is now in liquidation.

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