More details about the huge costs associated with Guy Sebastian’s business empire have emerged during his ex-manager’s embezzlement trial.
Guy Sebastian’s former accountants have been questioned over their handling of the singer’s financial affairs as further details of the huge costs associated with his business empire have emerged in court.
Damien Luscombe spent most of Wednesday giving evidence in the trial of Mr Sebastian’s former manager Titus Day, who is accused of fraudulently embezzling around $900,000 in performance, royalty and ambassador fees allegedly due to the former Australian Idol winner.
Commercial director and partner of White Sky, Mr Luscombe told the court that Mr Sebastian hired the firm to start running its books in 2015 and staff there would pay the bills on his behalf.
Some of the amounts the court was told had been paid included approximately $775,000 for fees associated with Mr. Sebastian’s You Me Us tour in 2016, as well as approximately $120,000 for his Madness and 8 Tour. $445 for expenses incurred at a New Year’s Big Bash cricket match.
Other amounts White Sky paid on behalf of Mr. Sebastian included $16,318 for travel expenses to Venice to perform at the wedding of global gaming industry executive Christian Bugno and $195 for an activity related to his role as an ambassador for Dreamworld.
The court was also told of costs associated with a performance that Mr. Sebastian charged Rock Lily at Star Casino $66,000, included approximately $5,300 in band fees, $6,000 in commission for the booking company The Harbor Agency and approximately $10,700 in commission for Mr. Day.
Mr Luscombe said Mr Sebastian or Mr Day’s company 6 Degrees had provided authorization to White Sky so the payments could be made.
“If there was anything deducted for commission purposes, we would generally ask Titus to provide where it came from,” Mr Luscombe said.
When Mr Luscombe was cross-examined by Mr Day’s solicitor, Dominic Toomey SC, the court heard that the accountant had not seen the management agreement Mr Sebastian had entered into with Mr Day.
“You never read the definition of costs in this document for the purpose of calculating commissionable income between 6 degrees and Mr. Sebastian,” Mr. Toomey said.
“Correct,” replied Mr. Luscombe.
“You are therefore unable to say that the figures you have provided in evidence correspond to the deductions that could properly be made under this management agreement for the purpose of calculating commissionable income,” Mr. Toomey to Mr. Luscombe, who said “you’re right” in response.
While probing the costs incurred for the wedding concert in Venice, Mr Toomey questioned Mr Luscombe on whether to include the airfares for Mr Sebastian and Mr Day’s trip from Heathrow in Berlin to Venice in the final calculation.
“It has nothing to do with bringing Mr. Sebastian from Sydney to Venice, or Mr. Day, does it?
When Mr. Toomey said “if there had been a round-the-world ticket for example, which ended up in Venice, which was presented to you by Mr. Sebastian, and he authorized payment for that, and said ‘put that on the Venice wedding’ that’s what would have happened’, Mr Luscombe replied ‘that’s right’.
Another point of contention was the commission payable to Mr. Day for Mr. Sebastian’s You Me Us tour.
The court was told that although White Sky staff member Jake Lowe provided preliminary advice suggesting that Mr Day owed around $161,000 in commission for his work on the tour, he charged around $800 less than his due.
Mr Luscombe said ‘we had a commission amount that we had calculated… which didn’t match the retained ash from 6 degrees so we tried to get to the bottom of that but we never really did. “.
“There were a lot of phone calls and stuff,” he told the court.
“The problem we had here was that we were suggesting what the commission might look like based on our numbers. But it certainly didn’t match the money that hit Guy’s bank account.
Earlier today Dorcas Kemp, the accountant employed by Mr Sebastian before White Sky, returned to the witness box to give further evidence.
She was questioned about email records she went through and invoices, with Mr Toomey accusing her of giving ‘very misleading’ evidence as she did not initially recall seeing any calendar information at come from Mr Sebastian in the years old emails.
Mr. Day has always denied any wrongdoing and says he is the one who is owed money.
The trial continues.
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