16/03/2012 - 15:18

Ardrey facing Phoenix fraud

16/03/2012 - 15:18

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Ardrey facing Phoenix fraud

A MAN considered a leader in Western Australia’s biotechnology arena has faced the Perth Magistrate’s Court on charges of defrauding a Perth-based company.

William Ardrey faces 19 counts of gaining benefit through fraud during the time he was employed as a director at Phoenix Eagle Company.

Dr Ardrey, 46, became known in the biotechnology field for his role with laser technology developer CustomVis, and was working for Regenera when he joined Phoenix Eagle.

Regenera predominantly identified and commercialised intellectual property and technology supporting the development of treatments for eye diseases.

Phoenix Eagle chair Paul Wright told WA Business News it was Dr Ardrey’s public profile in the biotechnology arena that swayed the board’s decision to employ him in 2005.

Dr Ardrey was tasked with developing a licensing package for Phoenix Eagle’s ulcer treatments, and employed consultants to provide advice.

However, Mr Wright said the directors became concerned about Dr Ardrey’s actions when a check on the consultants’ names failed to return any information confirming their expertise.

The board went to the police with their concerns and Dr Ardrey resigned from the company in May 2007. He was arrested last year and extradited from Queensland to appear before the courts in Perth.

Police have alleged the $400,000 paid into the consultants’ American bank accounts was later transferred into Dr Ardrey’s account.

Mr Wright said the events had not significantly affected the company, which was set to engage in discussions with pharmaceutical companies about its products.

“We are a small private company, and as with any company you come to some roadblocks; you confront them, and you move forward. We are in a very, very strong position now,” he said.

The company had also lodged a civil action against Dr Ardrey in attempts to recover the $400,000.

Dr Ardrey first appeared in the Perth Magistrate’s Court in November last year, with a subsequent committal appearance last month. He will reappear in April. He has also held roles with Avantogen Oncology, its parent company Acuvax, and Advanced Ocular Systems.

Dr Ardrey was contacted for comment but had not returned calls by the time WA Business News went to press.

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