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Prime Media Group ­ operator of a number of regional TV stations throughout Australia affiliated with the Seven Network ­ took action to oust the board of Destra, including Carosa, after it gained a 44 percent controlling interest in the company in the wash-up of the Opes Prime affair.

Officially Carosa, who had lost most of his personal shareholding, resigned, along with all of Destra’s non-executive directors, bar one: Warwick Syphers, who is also CEO of Prime.

Destra CFO Richard Wingrove is also understood to have departed.

An interim board has been appointed comprising David Gordon, principal of investment group Lexicon Partners, as executive chairman; and Syphers and Peter Evans as non-executive directors. Evans is also a non-executive director of Prime.

Syphers said the new board would conduct a “comprehensive review of the company’s strategy and business activities”, focusing on emerging opportunities in the digital media space. Carosa is to be engaged as a consultant.

The saga began earlier this month with the collapse of stockbroker Opes Prime. Carosa and non-executive director Paul Choiselat saw most of their personal shareholdings in Destra ­ which had apparently been bought through Opes Prime ­ fall into the hands of the broker’s lender, ANZ Bank.

 

Carosa had turned to Opes Prime last November as Destra sought to finance acquisition of a major interest in TV production house Beyond. Some 85 percent of Carosa’s own Destra shareholding was said to have been seized when Opes collapsed last month, shifting around $1.3 billion in investments into the control of creditors including the ANZ bank.

The bank also seized Destra’s Beyond shares.

Meanwhile Prime ­ which had underwritten a $15 million rights issue by Destra ­ ended that exercise by acquiring most of the 150 million shares on offer, following a negative response from the public. That saw its stake in Destra increase from 19.6 percent to 44pc ­ triggering yesterday’s events.

Choiselat, who resigned from the board last week, is pursuing legal action against the ANZ Bank.

Carosa co-founded Destra in 1993, when he was in his late teens and saw it listed on the ASX in 2000, at a time when many other digital media companies were biting the dust. He also built the Web site MP3.com.au, and launched DestraMusic, claimed to be Australia’s first legal commercial digital download service.

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