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Perth Glory owner Tony Sage butts out medicinal marijuana and gambling plans

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by September 4, 2016 General

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage is out of pot and out of luck.

Which is to say the diversification strategies of his flagship company, Cape Lambert, have not played out as expected.

Controversial owner: Perth Glory's Tony Sage. Controversial owner: Perth Glory’s Tony Sage. Photo: Getty Images

Cape Lambert has big stakes in Fe Ltd, and International Goldfields – two miners that planned to ditch mining for something more exciting.

Fe Ltd, formerly Buka Gold, was planning to take a punt by acquiring 100 per cent of gambling group Cardinal House which planned to offer bingo, online casinos, fantasy football, keno and sports betting – once it received a licence from the relevant authorities.

“Should the transaction proceed, Fe proposes to seek to divest of its existing mining exploration business,” the company said at the time.

Hopefully it has not ditched its dirt assets because Fe has now terminated the proposed acquisition citing “reasonable grounds” that conditions precedent to the deal cannot be met.

“The board believes that it is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders to terminate the acquisition and remain focused as a mineral exploration company,” said Sage who is its chairman.

And poor Tony can’t look to medicinal marijuana for any relief either.

Last month, International Goldfields (IG) announced that its plan to acquire an 85 per cent interest in a Uruguayan pharmaceutical biosciences player, Winter Garden Biosciences, also went to pot.

The company had previously advised Winter Garden “that it wished to terminate the binding definitive agreement between the parties”.

“As no correspondence has been received by Winter Garden … the agreement has now been terminated.”

IG has other issues, like the fact its shares have been suspended from trading since March as it has not been able to lodge its half-year accounts.

Last week, it was also suspended from trading by the ASX as it has not paid its listing fees.

Not so good guys

While the rest of us were sweating the final days of reporting season last week, professional services nerds at PricewaterhouseCoopers were entertaining the chief bean counters in Brissie with a very novel guest speaker: former Enron CFO Andy Fastow.

That’s right, one of the original “smartest guys in the room” who sent the alleged energy trader bankrupt in what was then one of the most spectacular corporate busts in US history.

Fastow copped six years’ jail for his innovative role in the whole thing, which is probably why PwC warned its potential guests “Andy’s appearance is subject to clearance by Australian immigration”.

“This event continues our series of in-depth discussions with eminent experts and peers on issues facing CFOs in your ever-changing roles,” said the invite from PwC.

PwC did not return CBD’s inquiry as to whether Fastow did actually make it through customs, but we managed to dig up a report on a show he did in Singapore recently.  

Andy talks about how the same deals that got him awarded CFO of the year, also engineered the biggest corporate fraud in US history. He then, presumably, tells his audience of CFOs why  they should not do the same.

In Singapore part of his talk proved to be very topical: Apple’s tax bill.

To illustrate a tax loophole, he uses a slide showing the Apple headquarters in Cork, Ireland.

Most people don’t realise this is Apple’s global headquarters, says Andy.

“US tax law says, so long as income is earned outside of the US, if you do not bring it back into the US, you do not have to pay US taxes. You pay taxes in the countries where you recognise it (the income), in this case Ireland.

“It’s a great deal for Ireland right? Except Irish tax law says if you recognise income in Ireland you have to pay taxes here, unless you are controlled by offices outside of Ireland, in which case you pay taxes in the country where you are controlled from.

“So the US says to Apple: pay taxes in Ireland. Ireland says to Apple: pay taxes in the US. Guess where Apple pays taxes on all this? Good deal,” he said.

Got a tip? ckruger@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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