In 1996, Nova Growth Corp. (NGCO) was a shell company trading on the lowly Canadian Dealer Network, a defunct OTC market for unlisted securities. NGCO was taken over by Brian Hamm, and within weeks began issuing press releases announcing the acquisition of various gaming/casino projects owned by Andrzej Kepinski. The stock soared from pennies to the $6 area in a matter of months, but the company never actually closed any acquisitions despite a series of upbeat PR’s, and returned to pennies within two years. Hamm and Kepinski suffered a major falling out, eventually ending up in a court case that spanned two decades. Here’s where it gets interesting: recent court documents reveal the central role that Sphere 3D CEO, Peter Tassiopoulos, played in this financial quagmire.
In summary, a judgement released last month covering hearings this spring show that Marco Durante (also involved with Koda Resources and Playandwin) and Tassiopoulos were promoters of Nova Growth and central figures in the dispute. Tassiopoulos “acted as market maker” (Paragraph 99), was issued options at $.15 and warrants at $.75 (101), and personally profited to the tune of at least $500,000 (102). He acted as the investor relations contact, traveled and conducted business on the company’s behalf (262, 266), and simultaneously sold shares into the whisper campaign of alleged casino developments (101, 276-281).
Court documents bring into question the testimony of Tassioupoulos. Justice Newbould felt that his testimony was “…in large part reconstruction” (99), “suffered from overstatement” (103) and needed to be considered “with caution” (106). Furthermore, in a classic Catch 22, the judge states that “If Mr. Tassiopoulos and Mr. Durante are to be believed, these trades were based on inside information which Mr. Tassiopoulos and Mr. Durante had to know was illegal.” (102)
Tassiopoulos’ role took a turn for the sinister as the Nova Growth dispute reached a crescendo: “Mr. Kepinski testified that on the day after his resignation letter, Mr. Tassiopoulos, Mr. Hamm and a burly man came to his office…(where they) went to the filing cabinet and took files and some boxes, including his personal documents such as tax returns and documents of A. Kepinski & Associates that he has not recovered. They also took privileged documents.” (301)
Justice Newbould’s entire ruling can be studied here. It includes a full chronology of the case for more interested readers (including a brief appearance by Sphere 3D director, Jason Meretsky). Those concerned only with Tassiopoulos’ role will find 73 references to the Sphere 3D CEO.