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The break-up of the business relationship between Guy Sebastian and his former long-term manager accused of embezzling almost $1 million owed to the Australian singer was "acrimonious and hostile", a court has been told
Titus Emanuel Day, 49, is on trial at Sydney's Downing Centre District Court where he is fighting 100 embezzlement and larceny charges for allegedly defrauding Mr Sebastian, a former client, on 50 occasions.
It is alleged that Day, who managed Mr Sebastian via his company 6 Degrees between 2009 and 2017, embezzled him out of almost $900,000 over three years.
On Tuesday, the trial's opening day was told Mr Sebastian joined 6 Degrees following an "amicable" release from his previous management agency, 22 Management, after first meeting Day via Day's wife, who worked at Sony.
The court was told that no contract was ever formalised between Day and Mr Sebastian, but that the accused took over managing the Australian Idol winner's career, which included receiving royalties and payments due to him into a 6 Degrees "Westpac trust account", until the singer terminated the pair's relationship.
"The break-up was acrimonious, hostile," the crown prosecutor told the court.
There would be evidence at the trial, he said, of Mr Sebastian later discovering "anomalies" related to royalty payments "never remitted" to him by 6 Degrees.
The singer discovered "further anomalies" in bank records in the context of a federal court civil action in 2018, prompting him to refer the matter to police.
The crown would argue that Day, an experienced manager of recording artists with legal training, failed to remit funds he was obliged to hand over to Mr Sebastian, illicitly appropriating almost $900,000, the court was told.
Day should have taken a 20 per cent commission on funds due to Mr Sebastian in the account, which from time to time in fact had in it "close to zero", the court was told.
In one of several transactions analysed, the court heard that in January 2015, around $6300 due to Mr Sebastian was moved "in its entirety" to another account.
"That, the crown says, was either an embezzlement or a stealing," the crown prosecutor said.
On another occasion, after liquidators shut the Westpac trust account in 2020, thousands of dollars in royalties were requested to be paid by Premier Music, a Canadian royalty collection company, into an NAB business account instead.
The trial continues on Wednesday before Judge Peter Zahra.