EXCLUSIVE: Wife Of Topfield Boss Slammed In OZ Court, Staff Locked Out
The wife, of Korean set top box maker Topfield, has been stripped of shares in TopPro the distributor of the TV content box in Australia following an embarrassing Court case in which a judge said her evidence could not be trusted.
The judge sitting in the New South Wales Supreme Court, stripped Mrs Ok Ja Joo the CEO of TopPro of ownership, in what has become an embarrassing case for Topfield who are the #1 set top box maker in Australia.
Ownership has gone to a Mr Il Nam Yoo, who senior TopPro staff said “We don’t have a clue, as to who this person is”.
Former staff who have not been paid were yesterday “driving round looking for jobs”. They claim that the offices were closed and that the former CEO of TopPro Mrs Ok Ja Joo who a judge said often changed here evidence in the case, was “nowhere to be seen”.
Also waiting to be paid are sub distributors.
“Topfield is over in Australia” said a former senior executive.
According to Court documents Mr Yoo laid claim to the business claiming that he was denied access to a distributor agreement for the Korean made set top box.
Mr Yoo told the Court that he acquired an equitable interest in the shares in TopPro in April 2012 and there is a dispute as to whether he subsequently disposed of the shares, or the equitable interest in them.
The Court decision came down in favour of the mystery Mr Yoo.
Ironically the CEO of TopPro, Mrs Joo, is the wife of the chief executive of Topfield and the shareholder in a company which provides services to Toppro.
The Third Defendant, is a Mr Kim, who is currently a director of Topfield in Korea.
It’s also been revealed that Mrs Joo was running the business via a tax haven in the British Virgin Islands.
A Company called Waymon Group Limited was registered in the British Virgin Islands on 26 March 2012, It was revealed that Mrs Joo was its sole director and shareholder.
The judge Justice Black, who spent days trying to untangle claims and counter claims between the Korean parties in the case said that he had difficulties in identifying the relevant issues and addressing them in any logical order.
He said that pleadings in the case were amended several times and the parties incurred significant costs in trying to win the rights to distribution of a set top box which several retailers are dumping due to a move to smart TV’s and content streaming devices.
The judge said that he had difficulties with Mrs Joo’s evidence during her cross-examination. He claimed Mrs Joo significantly departed, from her original affidavit during cross-examination in the Court.
And as such he said that Joo’s evidence was “contradictory and conclude that he must approach Mrs Joo’s evidence “with caution”.
Mr Yoo pleaded that, on 30 April 2012, he acquired all of the shares in TopPro.
This was later changed to being only an equitable interest in those shares in the absence of registration of any interest in the shares in Toppro ’s share register.
Mr Yoo pleaded that, in May 2012, he was approached by Mr Choi, who was then a director of Topfield, with a proposal that he should sell his shares in Toppro and make a small profit in a short period of time.
Mr Choi, who played a significant role in the transactions, had subsequently resigned from Topfield and was not called by either party.
In 2013, TopPro was turning over $10m in Australia the Court heard.
Justice Black ordered the rectification of the share register of TopPro in favour of Mr Yoo.
He also dismissed cross claims lodged by Mrs Joo and WWIL.
He also ordered Mrs Joo individually should “jointly and severally pay” Mr Yoo’s costs of the proceedings, as agreed or as assessed.
No costs order was made against TopPro.
He said that the parties should bring in agreed short minutes of order to give effect to this judgment within 7 days.
Since then Mrs Joo is believed to have moved to appeal the judgement and the costs order.
It’s not known whether the Australian Tax Office is set to investigation the operations of TopPro.