Former Ambient Advertising staff to testify at public hearing

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 20 April 2017
Mark Fishwick.

Former directors and staff of Ambient Advertising will be cross-examined at the NSW Supreme Court tomorrow as a public hearing into circumstances surrounding the collapse of the business continues.

The investigation, led by NSW Supreme Court-appointed special purpose liquidator Nicholas Crouch of Crouch Amirbeaggi, is investigating allegations the outdoor booking agency trimmed poster orders placed by media agencies as well as money that left the business just before it was liquidated.

It is alleged the trimming activity amounted to a value of $1.5 million over several years, affecting many media agencies such as MediaCom, MEC and Ikon Communications and clients, including the AFL, Swinbourne University, Wagon Wheels, Applehead Cider and Diesel.

Out of 96 samples investigated by the special purpose liquidator, 75% of cases had discrepancies between the number of units ordered by clients and the number of units Ambient Advertising actually booked with its poster suppliers.

In the first hearing date last December, former director and founder Mark Fishwick was cross-examined about allegations Ambient Advertising had overcharged clients, how he was remunerated, loan activity and the alleged transfer of business between Ambient Advertising and Revolution 360, an ad agency that he formed after Ambient Advertising became insolvent.

Fishwick told the court under privilege the discrepancies are because units relate to media space rather than the number of street posters and that some street posters would run for longer than the standard one week period.

Fishwick told the court he couldn't recall if Revolution 360 staff, many of whom had worked at Ambient, had courted Ambient's clients to transfer across unfulfilled contracts to the new business.

Email evidence presented to the court indicates Revolution 360 directly communicated with Ambient Advertising stakeholders.

Most of Fishwick's testimony in the public hearing has been made under privilege, which means it cannot be used in any subsequent judicial proceedings.

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