Ex-director charged with taking funds to pay gambling debts

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Bankrupt businessman Andrew Sigalla may face jail after being charged with dishonestly using more than $6 million belonging to the company he ran to pay gambling debts to high-profile bookmaker Tom Waterhouse.

Mr Sigalla appeared on Thursday in Sydney’s Central Local Court on 16 charges of breaching his duties as a director of TZ Limited, which is now run by Celebrity Apprentice star Mark Bouris.The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleges Mr Sigalla dipped into the company’s bank accounts 16 times between March 2008 and March 2009, using most of the money to pay Mr Waterhouse and the remainder to pay off a mortgage. The charges laid on Thursday are the latest fallout from Mr Sigalla’s tenure at TZ. Last year, the NSW Supreme Court convicted Mr Sigalla of contempt after he breached a court order by failing to disclose almost $30,000 in credit card payments to escort agencies to ASIC. At the time he denied personally using the services of the escort agencies, telling the court they were used by a guest who paid him back in cash. Mr Sigalla was made bankrupt in July 2010 on the application of Mr Waterhouse, to whom he owed $2.6 million under a Victorian Supreme Court order. Mr Bouris took control of TZ, which makes electronic lockers, in mid-2009 and has since been working to turn the struggling company around. Under Mr Bouris, TZ launched a $7.5 million legal claim against Mr Sigalla that was later settled out of court.

Mr Sigalla did not enter a plea and was granted bail. He must surrender his passport to ASIC.

http://www.theage.com.au/business/exdirector-charged-with-taking-funds-to-pay-gambling-debts-20130516-2jpel.html

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