Entertainment

Guy Sebastian’s cost of performing revealed in trial

More details of the huge costs associated with Guy’s Sebastian business empire have been revealed during his ex-manager’s embezzlement trial.

Guy Sebastian’s former bookkeepers have been grilled about their handling of the singer’s financial affairs as more details of the huge costs associated with his business empire were revealed in court.

Damien Luscombe spent most of Wednesday giving evidence in the trial of Mr Sebastian’s former manager Titus Day, who stands accused of fraudulently embezzling about $900,000 in performance, royalty and ambassador fees allegedly owed to the former Australian Idol winner.

A business manager and partner at White Sky, Mr Luscombe told the court Mr Sebastian hired the firm to start managing his books in 2015 and staff there would pay invoices on his behalf.

Some of the amounts the court was told had been paid included about $775,000 for costs associated with running Mr Sebastian’s You Me Us tour in 2016, as well as about $120,000 for his Madness tour and $8445 for costs incurred performing at a New Year’s Day Big Bash cricket game.

Other amounts White Sky paid out on Mr Sebastian’s behalf included $16,318 for costs racked up traveling to Venice to perform at the wedding of global gaming industry manager Christian Bugno and $195 for an activity linked to his Dreamworld ambassador role.

The court was also told costs associated with a performance Mr Sebastian charged $66,000 for at Rock Lily at Star Casino, had included about $5300 in band fees, $6000 in commission to The Harbor Agency booking company and about $10,700 in commission for Mr Day.

Mr Luscombe said either Mr Sebastian or Mr Day’s company 6 Degrees provided authorization to White Sky so payments could be made.

“If there was anything deducted for the purpose of commission we would generally ask Titus to provide where that came from,” Mr Luscombe said.

When Mr Luscombe was cross-examined by Mr Day’s barrister Dominic Toomey SC, the court heard the bookkeeper had not seen the management agreement Mr Sebastian had entered into with Mr Day.

“You have never read the definition of costs in that document for the purposes of calculating commissionable income as between 6 Degrees and Mr Sebastian,” Mr Toomey said.

“Correct,” Mr. Luscombe responded.

“You are not in a position to say, therefore, that the figures you have provided in evidence equate to deductions which might properly be made under that management agreement for the purpose of calculating the commissionable income,” Mr Toomey told Mr Luscombe who said “ you’re correct” in response.

While probing the costs incurred for the Venice wedding gig, Mr Toomey asked Mr Luscombe about the appropriateness of including airfares for Mr Sebastian and Mr Day’s travel from Heathrow to Berlin to Venice in the final calculation.

“It’s got nothing to do with getting Mr Sebastian from Sydney to Venice, or Mr Day, does it?,” Mr Toomey asked Mr Luscombe who responded “we don’t assume anything … we would have been instructed”.

When Mr Toomey said “if there had been a round the world ticket for example, which ended up in Venice, submitted to you by Mr Sebastian, and he authorized the payment of that, and said ‘put that on the Venice wedding’ that’s what would have happened”, Mr Luscombe replied “that’s correct”.

Another issue of contention was the commission payable to Mr Day for Mr Sebastian’s You Me Us tour

The court was told that while Jake Lowe, a staff member at White Sky, provided preliminary advice which suggested Mr Day was owed about $161,000 in commission for his work on the tour, he charged about $800 less than he was owed.

Mr Luscombe said “we had a commission amount that we had calculated … that didn’t match the ash that was withheld that came from 6 Degrees so we were trying to get to the bottom of that but we never really did”.

“There were lots of phone calls and stuff going on,” he told the court.

“The problem that we had here was we were suggesting what the commission may look like based on our figures. But it certainly didn’t match the money that hit Guy’s bank account.”

Earlier in the day Dorcas Kemp, the bookkeeper Mr Sebastian employed before White Sky, returned to the witness box to give further evidence.

She was probed about email records she went through and invoices, with Mr Toomey accusing her of giving “highly misleading” evidence because she could not initially recall seeing information about Mr Sebastian’s upcoming schedule in the emails that were years old.

Mr Day has consistently denied any wrongdoing and claims it’s he who is owed money.

The trial continues.

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