Former Tennis Australia director Harold Mitchell served up $90,000 fine

Former Tennis Australia director Harold Mitchell served up $90,000 fine

Former Tennis Australia vice president Harold Mitchell has copped a $90,000 serve for breaching his director's duties.

The Federal Court of Australia imposed the penalty after Mitchell was found guilty on three counts of the Corporations Act in July.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) brought the charges after a 2013 decision by the Tennis Australia Board to award the domestic television broadcast rights for the Australian Open tennis tournament for five years to the Seven Network without a competitive tender process.

Justice Beach noted while he was satisfied that each of the three contraventions were 'serious' within the meaning of the Corporations Act, Tennis Australia did not suffer any harm as a result of the contraventions.

Mitchell was fined $50,000 for the first contravention and $20,000 each for each of the other two.

ASIC alleged former Tennis Australia president Stephen Healy and Mitchell withheld information from the industry body, failed to ensure the board was fully informed about the interest of other networks, and failed to advise the board to put the rights up for a competitive tender.

However, the charges against Healy were dismissed earlier this year with the watchdog ordered to pay his legal costs.

Mitchell was a director of Tennis Australia from 2008 and retired from the board in October 2018. Between 2010 and 2015 he was the vice president of the company.

Justice Beach declined to make any order as to costs, given both parties had some success in the trial.

Accordingly, ASIC and Mitchell must each bear their own costs of the proceeding.

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