The fight for control of Blackham Resources has been referred to the Takeovers Panel, with opponents of chairman Joe Gutnick ramping up their efforts to remove him from the company.
Not content with seeking to remove Mr Gutnick from the chairmanship of the gold exploration company, the board of Blackham has asked for him to be stripped of his stake in the company, which stands about 27 per cent.
The warring factions have been at odds ever since Mr Gutnick failed to make a $6 million payment promised under a funding deal in 2013.
Mr Gutnick has refused to make the payment because he claims to have become isolated from the rest of the board, but his opponents believe he is co-ordinating a takeover by stealth, after he recently transferred some of his Blackham shares to a British company called Polo.
In its submission to the Takeovers Panel, Blackham said Mr Gutnick’s various holding companies and Polo now control about 31 per cent of the company, and their links have not been properly disclosed to shareholders.
The Blackham directors have sought interim orders preventing Mr Gutnick and his associates from acquiring more shares in the company, and from exercising any power at an upcoming meeting of shareholders, which could see the composition of the board voted on by shareholders.
Longer term, Blackham wants Mr Gutnick and Polo to be stripped of their shares, and have those shares vested in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Mr Gutnick could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The submission to the Takeovers Panel follows Supreme Court action that was lodged by Blackham against Mr Gutnick and one of his companies earlier this month in a bid to force Mr Gutnick to produce the outstanding $6 million.
Mr Gutnick’s personal wealth was estimated at $255 million in this year’s BRW rich list.