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EXCLUSIVE:’Dodgy History’ TEAC Placed Into Administration Again

TEAC Australia Pty Ltd that has a history of dodgy executives and questionable business practises, has been placed into administration again, after a chequered history that included being fined for price fixing and having their CEO jailed and other senior executives who are still in the industry today fined for their involvement in questionable transactions.

This is not the first time that administrators were appointed to TEAC Australia, back in March 2005 the business was sold in 2007 to Singaporean interests who have been trading under ther TEAC name after being placed into administration, the current managemernt team were not associated with the illegal actions of previous management.

Prior to the Singaporean management taking over the business was facing action from various Federal and State Government departments before it was flicked to new owners.

A player in multiple categories, including TV’s and appliances, the business never launched the Teac premium audio products that are selling well in the USA and Europe today, with local Teac management claiming that they did not have the resources to sell into the specialist audio channel.

Now several Australian distributors are chasing the rights for Teac premium audio products.

Last week in the USA Teac launched several new audio products including one that copied their original design concept from the Japanese Companies top-of-the-line 700 Series.

The proprietary “TRDD5” (TEAC Reference Discrete DAC) is designed to produce the best combination of sound quality and user flexibility in a compact form factor, with the market in Australia gravitating to small form factor audio which Teac is famous for.

Teac Australia caught the attention of various Government departments, including the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission during their period trading in Australia.

At one stage the ACCC instituted legal proceedings in the Federal Court, Melbourne, against TEAC Australia Pty Ltd for engaging in resale price maintenance in relation to a range of TEAC branded electronic goods including televisions, digital set-top boxes and portable music devices.

Warren Allison former convicted Teac executive ang General Manager at Hisense

This resulted in the Federal Court imposing penalties totalling $190,000 on TEAC Australia Pty Ltd and its then National Sales Manager, Mr Warren Allison seen below for engaging in resale price maintenance.

Alison recently left Hisense Australia where he was General Manager to take up a role with GAF Control as an account Manager.

There was no explanation as to why Allison quit a senior role at Hisense for an account management role at GAF Control.

Justice Kenny in the Melbourne court ordered TEAC to pay $175,000 in pecuniary penalties for breaching the resale price maintenance provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and Mr Allison $15,000 for being knowingly concerned in the implementation of price fixing with consumer electronics retailers.

The ACCC claimed at the time that TEAC contravened section 48 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 by attempting to induce and inducing a certain retailer not to advertise certain TEAC products below the ‘go price’ specified by TEAC.

The ACCC has also instituted proceedings against Mr Warren Allison, the National Sales Manager of TEAC. The ACCC alleges that Mr Allison was knowingly concerned in the alleged contraventions by TEAC.

Back in 2007 Kenneth David Evans, the former chief financial officer and a director of TEAC Australia Pty Ltd, was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment, suspended for three years.

Evans pleaded guilty to five contraventions of the Corporations Act, including two counts of failing to act in good faith in the best interests of TEAC Australia, one count of dishonestly using his position as a director of TEAC Australia, one count of falsifying company books and one count of providing false or misleading information to the auditor of TEAC Australia.

The Court was told that Evans dishonestly failed to exercise his powers as a director in TEAC Australia’s best interests by failing to register securitisation documents and enforce TEAC Australia’s rights in relation to a loan provided to a private company of TEAC Australia’s chief executive officer and principal, Gavin Muir (deceased).

Muir died owing people millions including several leading Australian personalities. As boss of TEAC Australia, Muir directed a company that at one stage had an annual turnover of $150 million.

When ASIC started to investigate the Company, it was revealed the company had debts of more than $130 million.

Muri before his death was charged with 11 counts under the Corporations Act involving the sale of TEAC’s original headquarters in Bay Street, Port Melbourne, to his private company.

Muir had planned to redevelop the site into a luxury apartment block and retail complex, but $123 million suddenly vanished in the process.

More than 60 investors, including Ron Barassi and Molly Meldrum, who paid deposits of $400,000 and more for apartments bought off the plan, lost their money, all up investors lost over $7M.

Muir was even taking deposits days before the administrator stepped in.

According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commissions, Evans attributed responsibility for his actions to Muir claiming that he was merely a senior employee carrying out the instructions of the company’s principal.

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