Gigs & Bytes: This Time It’s Personal
An Australian federal judge has ordered Sharman’s chief exec, Nikki Hemming, to face cross-examination by record industry lawyers regarding her personal assets, specifically the sale of her house. It will be Hemming’s first court appearance since the trial began one year ago.
This particular legal problem goes back to last March when lawyers for the recording industry sought a court order forcing Kazaa’s owners to reveal their personal assets after Hemming sold her house to the company’s accountant, John Myer, for (Aus.) $2.1 million (US $1.55). However, Hemming continued to live in the house after the sale.
The recording industry lawyers have asserted that Myer gave half of the money from the sale to Hemming’s live-in partner, and then transferred the remaining (Aus.) $1.1 million to a Sharman-controlled trust fund located in the tax-shelter South Pacific island of Vanuatu.
Australian federal judge Michael Moore said that there were “several unusual features” about the sale, and the timing of the transaction needed to be reviewed. That’s because the sale took place only five days after Hemming’s lawyers received documents detailing the recording industry’s case against Kazaa, The the judge says Hemming’s involvement with the Vanuatu trust are among the items needed to be studied.
Moore also ordered Hemming to detail her assets by December 9th.
In answer to the judge’s order, Sharman issued a short statement saying that they were “disappointed” with the ruling.
“We will review the judgment and consider our options,” the company said.