FORMER AFL player Joel Macdonald could be hit with up to a million dollars in fines as his high-flying delivery empire comes under siege by the corporate cop.
The ex-Melbourne player turned a fledgling footy career into a spot on the Young Rich List when his start-up company, GetSwift, was valued at $715 million.
But he now stands accused of misleading shareholders about the growth of the delivery tracking business.
A Federal Court hearing last week revealed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission had been unable to track down the jetsetting businessman to serve him with the civil penalty proceedings.
When the Sunday Herald Sun contacted Mr Macdonald by phone in the United States, he did not have a lot to say.
“I’m a bit busy at the moment mate, I’m in a meeting,” he said before hanging up.
The 34-year-old, who played 125 AFL games with Melbourne and Brisbane, moved to New York as his company took off. At its peak price, Mr Macdonald’s share in the company was valued at $158 million, but it has now plunged to $10 million.
He also faces a barrage of legal claims, including a shareholder class action by litigation experts Phi Finney Mcdonald.
ASIC alleges GetSwift made a number of announcements about clients it had secured, between February 2017 and December 2017, that were misleading.
They also claim Mr Macdonald failed to carry out his duties as a director with due care and diligence.
Mr Macdonald stepped back from being managing director in April last year and is now president of GetSwift and an executive director.
Each charge from the corporate watchdog against Mr Macdonald can attract a maximum penalty of $200,000.
He could also be banned from running a corporation.
GetSwift itself could also face huge penalties with each breach valued at a maximum of $1 million.
Phi Finney McDonald’s Tim Finney said it was important for the case to go ahead quickly so the public could better understand the alleged wrongdoing by GetSwift.
GetSwift denies the ASIC and class action allegations.
“The company, Mr Macdonald and (fellow director Bane) Hunter irrefutably deny the allegations … and, collectively, will vigorously defend the proceedings,” the company said.
The case will return to the Federal Court on March 13.