Australia

Ex-Bellamy's director Jan Cameron faces criminal charges after ASIC investigation

Jan Cameron is a former director of baby formula producer Bellamy's. Source: AAP

Tasmanian businesswoman Jan Cameron is facing criminal charges for failing to disclose her full interest in the Bellamy's infant formula company.

The corporate watchdog has charged former Bellamy's director Jan Cameron with masking what it alleges was the true stake in the infant formula business via a mysterious offshore associate. 

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said on Friday it was charging the Tasmanian businesswoman, 67, with failing to disclose 14 million Bellamy's shares she owned via Curacao-domiciled firm The Black Prince Foundation, when the Launceston-based formula company went public in August 2014.

ASIC said Ms Cameron's 14.74 per cent stake was nearly triple the 5 per cent threshold that dictates - in the Corporations Act - when a person must lodge a substantial holder notice.

The watchdog also alleges Ms Cameron - following an acrimonious boardroom battle in early 2017 - lodged with Bellamy's an initial substantial holder notice that was also misleading, on the basis that it failed to properly disclose her true and complete relationship with Black Prince, and the basis upon which she held her interest in the company.

Ms Cameron was revealed as the controlling power behind Black Prince amid the 2017 shareholder revolt, which resulted in the removal of Bellamy's chief executive Laura McBain.

Black Prince was also accused of trying to roll the board and install directors aligned with Ms Cameron after the company's share price plunged on Chinese market setbacks.

Ms Cameron, the founder of outdoor apparel brand Kathmandu, faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for the charges.

The case is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and a hearing is listed for a mention in the Hobart Magistrates Court on 12 March.

Bellamy's was sold to the China Mengniu Dairy Company last year in a deal that netted Ms Cameron a reported $300 million.

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