Former chief executive pleads guilty to $6 million fraud charges; 350 jobs to go at Caltex: Midday Roundup

Former chief executive pleads guilty to $6 million fraud charges; 350 jobs to go at Caltex: Midday Roundup

The former chief executive of Melbourne-based biotech company Phosphagenics has pleaded guilty to charges relating to an alleged $6 million fraud.

Esra Orgu was charged in May with nine offences over the misappropriation of funds from Phosphagenics, including four charges of dishonestly obtaining money, three charges of conspiracy to dishonestly obtain money and two charges of using her position as a company director to dishonestly obtain money.

Two other people, Robert Gianello, a former Phosphagenics employee, and Woei-Jia Jiang, have each pleaded guilty to three offences in relation to the matter.

Phosphagenics shares were placed in a trading halt and Ogru was dismissed by the board after Phosphogenics uncovered “irregular transactions” in relation to its invoicing and accounting records in July 2013.

Ogru, who has already agreed to pay back some of the stolen funds, will face court again on August 29.

350 jobs to go at Caltex

Caltex Australia will shed another 350 jobs over the next twelve months as it continues to review its cost structure, reports Business Spectator.

The news was delivered along with the Caltex’s profit results for the second half of the 2014 financial year, which saw the company post profit of $173 million on a replacement cost basis, up 1% on the previous corresponding period’s result of $171 million.

However, on a historical cost basis, profit fell 17% to $163 million in the reporting period, compared to the company’s previous result of $195 million.

The latest round of job cuts is in addition to the 300-plus jobs lost as a result of the closure of Caltex’s Kurnell refinery, which was announced in 2012.

The company’s ongoing cost review is expected to result in restructuring costs of between $130 million and $155 million before tax in the first half of the 2015 financial year, but deliver approximately $100 million in benefits each year before tax.

Shares down on open

Aussie shares have opened slightly lower this morning, following Wall Street’s subdued to the end of last week.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 3.8 points to 5641.8 points at 11.47am AEST. Last week, the Dow Jones closed 38.27 points lower, down 0.22% to 17001.2 points.

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