Gordagen Pharmaceuticals Wins High Court of Malaysia Judgement for Breach of Confidentiality

2015-05-21 12:14 1117

MELBOURNE, Australia, May 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Gordagen Pharmaceuticals Pty. Ltd., a private Australian company commercialising evidence-based dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals, today announced that the High Court of Malaysia has issued a judgement against Ms. Nurul Athirah binti Sufi (Ms. Athirah), a former employee of the Company.

Ms. Athirah was represented to Gordagen in January 2014, as a chartered accountant with auditing skills. During the time of her employment she undertook key financial duties and was privy to highly confidential information.

On November 13, 2014, Ms. Athirah tendered her resignation and left the Company on the next day. On November 18, 2014, the Company discovered that Ms. Athirah had sent a large volume of highly confidential information to her private email account. This information included documents from Board meetings, financial accounts and reports, as well as documents related to the Company's financings.

As the information in question is highly confidential and could have impacted the company's products and capital raising prospects, Gordagen's Australian solicitors served a letter of demand on November 19, 2014 to Ms. Athirah to return the materials and to refrain from disclosing the information to anyone. This followed an initial request by Gordagen's Managing Director and CEO to return the materials, in which there was no response. No response was received to the letter of demand and Ms. Athirah returned to Malaysia.

Gordagen's Malaysian counsel, Zaid, Ibrahim & Co, sought an interlocutory injunction in the High Court of Malaysia to restrain Ms. Athirah from disclosing any of the confidential information to third parties and to return the information to Gordagen's counsel.

The High Court of Malaysia issued an injunctive order against Ms. Athirah on December 15, 2014. Ms. Athirah returned the necessary information, and in compliance with the injunctive order, undertook not to make any disclosures to third parties.

Attempts made by Gordagen at settlement were rejected and Ms. Athirah elected to proceed with legal proceedings. "The High Court judgement is a strong vindication of Gordagen's case against this former employee. This judgement affirms the fact that there was an egregious breach of confidentiality and copyright infringement committed by Ms. Athirah," said Dr Glenn Tong.

Ms. Athirah is the daughter of Mr Muhammad Sufi Mahbub (Mr. Sufi), a high profile Malaysian company Director. Mr Sufi was a Director of Gordagen until his removal by unanimous shareholder vote on January 12, 2015.

Mr Sufi became a Director of Gordagen in January 2014. At this point, Mr. Sufi recommended that that Gordagen employ his daughter as its Finance Manager because she was a skilled accountant who could assist in Gordagen's dealings with Malaysian investors. Gordagen accepted this recommendation from Mr. Sufi on good faith since it wished to strengthen its relationship with a new Malaysian-based investor and also seek future funding from other Malaysian-based investors.

The recommendation was further made very attractive to Gordagen by Mr. Sufi arranging for his employer to meet all the expenses relating to the employment of his daughter, including a salary of AU$128,000, a company car and a luxury apartment.

"Gordagen tried very hard not to enter into legal proceedings, but with a breach of this nature and Ms. Athirah's lack of an acceptable response to our requests, we were left with no option but to vigorously assert our rights. We would have expected that someone represented as an accountant with auditing experience would be extremely careful in observing their fiduciary duties towards their employer and we were very surprised when this turned out not to be the case," Dr Tong said.

Dr. Tong commented that Gordagen is pleased to have secured its intellectual property and its relationship with its cornerstone investor remains strong.

"Gordagen is commercialising valuable intellectual property and our duty to our shareholders is to make sure that this asset is carefully protected at all times. When reasonable attempts to set matters straight were ignored, we acted decisively and swiftly to secure our intellectual property rights," Dr Tong said.

Paris Brooke, Investor and media enquiries, Ph: +61 (0) 407 715 574

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Source: Gordagen Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd