ASIC stops Dubber’s CEO and a lawyer from leaving Australia over company’s missing $26.6 million

- March 22, 2024 2 MIN READ
Steve McGovern, Dubber
Dubber's suspended CEO Steve McGovern
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has stepped in to prevent ASX-listed Dubber’s CEO and cofounder, Steve McGovern, and lawyer Mark Madafferi, principal of North Melbourne law firm, Christopher William Legal, from leaving the country as investigations continue into $26.6 million missing from the business.

The corporate regulator applied to the Federal Court on March 18 to prevent their departures, having begun an investigation on March 1 after Dubber alerted ASIC to financial problems in the business.

“ASIC has concerns that Mr McGovern and Mr Madafferi may have breached the Corporations Act in respect of the suspected misuse of term deposit funds of Dubber Corporation or one of its subsidiaries, purportedly held on trust by Mr Madafferi,” the regulator said in a statement.

McGovern is a British national with permanent residence in Australia. Madafferi is an Australian.

The voice data tech company (ASX: DUB) shocked the market in late February when it suspended trading in its shares ahead of the release of its half-year accounts, then revealed that $30 million, supposedly in a term deposit, “may have been applied for other purposes”.

McGovern was stood down immediately. While $3.4 million was recovered, $26.6 million is still missing and last Friday Dubber said it is “evaluating avenues for possible recovery of these funds”.

Melbourne billionaire Alex Waislitz, who had increased his stake in Dubber to 14.37% just weeks before through Tiga Trading, a company associated with the Thorney Investment Group, last week came to the company’s rescue with a $5 million bridging loan and has increased his shareholding to 19.9% – the edge of the takeover threshold.

The half-year results have yet to be released and Dubber shares remain suspended, having last traded at $0.22 cents.

The business is looking to raise additional funds. Last July it raised $10.25 million at $0.14 cents a share.

Dubber uses AI to analyse call recordings for what it calls “moments” for customer insights.