The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has begun criminal proceedings in the Federal Court in Brisbane against Mr Michael Anthony Boyle for allegedly providing false or misleading evidence in the course of the investigation into Sensaslim Australia Pty Ltd (Sensaslim).
In 2011 the ACCC issued a notice under section 155 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 requiring Mr Boyle to appear before the Commission to give evidence.
This notice was issued as part of the ACCC's investigation into the allegedly misleading and deceptive conduct and false representations about the identity of Sensaslim officers, the Sensaslim product and the business opportunity offered by Sensaslim.
The investigation culminated in civil proceedings against Sensaslim and several individuals, including Mr Peter Foster and Mr Boyle, which were commenced by the ACCC in the Federal Court in Sydney in July 2011 (ACCC MR 126/11).
In the criminal proceedings just commenced, the ACCC alleges that at the examination of Mr Boyle pursuant to the section 155 notice, he knowingly gave false or misleading evidence about his knowledge of Peter Foster’s involvement with Sensaslim.
A directions hearing for this matter has been set down for 3 November 2014.
Mr Boyle has not entered a plea at this time.
“Section 155 powers are an important part of the ACCC’s capacity to investigate matters and are exercised with care. The ACCC takes non-compliance with its section 155 notices extremely seriously.” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
Section 155 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 gives the ACCC the power to require a person to provide information, documents and/or give oral evidence at an examination. Failing to comply with section 155, including if a person knowingly gives false or misleading evidence in a section 155 examination, is a criminal offence. The penalties which can be imposed are a fine of up to $3,400 or up to 12 months’ imprisonment.