In what reads like a CSI script, the Miami based technology distribution group Brightstar, who has close links with several South American Countries, Hispanic banks and former Telstra boss Sol Trujillo is today going to great lengths to hide information on their Australian operations.
In an application before the Federal Court yesterday, the Hispanic owned Company sought to have the media banned from hearing evidence, being presented to Justice Arthur Emmett, in a case brought by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
The secretive Company, who has an exclusive deal to distribute Telstra mobile handset’s had their application rejected.
The Company is arguing that they want to be exempted, from having to lodge a financial return with ASIC. They argue that they will be exposed to “economic risk” if they have to comply. Competitors are asking “what are they hiding”.
Brightstar is appealing an earlier decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, who ruled that the Company had an obligation to lodge their annual financial returns with ASIC because they are a Company with more than $10M in turnover and assets of over $5M in Australia.
Back in 2004 when the Australian operations of Brightstar were established in Melbourne, global CEO, Marcelo Claure, said “Australia is very mature but there is room for a value-added distributor in the wireless space. Our first job will be wooing wireless network operators, dealers and mass merchants, Claure said.
Shortly after that statement Brightstar landed a multimillion dollar distribution deal with Telstra who had recently appointed Sol Trujillo as its CEO. A long time friend of Claure, Trujillo, was also a director of a South American bank which had authorised a low interest loan to Brightstar.
At yesterday’s hearing Jonathon Simpkins QC, for Brightstar, sought to have the court closed claiming that it was not possible to present the case without revealing confidential information. The application was rejected.
Brightstar claims that it wants to be exempt from having to lodge information on the Companies Australian operations because of their relationship with Telstra which they now claim is their sole client.
In the USA Brightstar distribute products for Microsoft, Lenovo, Samsung and a host of wireless, mobile phone and PC vendors.
No explanation has been given, as to why the distributor is only concentrating on selling products for Telstra when their objective in 2005 was to establish a multi brand distribution Company.