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SFO charges former ONFILM CFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has laid Crimes Act charges against Victor John Clarke in the Auckland District Court. The charges relate to his conduct as a director of the company MediaWeb Limited (MediaWeb).

MediaWeb was the publisher of a range of trade publications, including ONFILM and The Data Book. Clarke, a director of and shareholder in MediaWeb, was responsible for overseeing the company’s accounting.

The SFO has alleged that Clarke falsified financial statements to present a positive picture of MediaWeb’s financial position, failed to disclose the company’s true financial position and obtained money and access to loan facilities of approximately $2.2 million as a result of his actions. He’ll next appear in court in October.

Although the headline number is substantial many of the company’s unsecured creditors including editorial staff were owed several thousands of dollars when MediaWeb went belly up.

MediaWeb was placed into receivership on 5 March 2014 and into liquidation on 21 March 2014. The assets of ONFILM and The Data Book were bought out of receivership by Kelly Lucas, formerly a contractor to MediaWeb. Lucas is the publisher of the revampedData Book.

ONFILM and SCREENZ are in the process of combining assets under the SCREENZ banner, which is now operated by Lucas and SCREENZ editor Keith Barclay.