The man behind the Stock Swami Twitter account has apologised to the Federal Court for deliberately withholding documents and misleading the mining investor who is suing him for defamation.
Alan Francis Davison appeared in court on Friday after Justice Michael Lee ordered that he travel from New Zealand to answer why he did not comply with discovery orders to produce documents.
"You get him on an aeroplane and you get him in the witness box, and he can give an explanation of what has occurred," Justice Lee told Mr Davison's barrister Dauid Sibtain on Wednesday.
Mr Davison under cross-examination conceded that he did not hand over documents but said it was to protect the identity of stockbroker Stephen Dobson and journalist Jonathan Shapiro.
The lawsuit focuses on six tweets sent by Mr Davison relating to three companies which Tolga Kumova had invested in at the time: European Cobalt, now known as Aston Minerals, New Century Resources and Bellevue Gold.
The Melbourne rich lister claims the malicious twitter campaign from 2018 to 2020 alleged that he'd engaged in insider trading, conducted unlawful activity on the Australian Stock Exchange, and was part of a pump and dump syndicate which misled the Australian public.
After the lawsuit was filed Mr Davison made complaints "every few weeks" to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, about various companies owned by Mr Kumova.
This included that European Cobalt did not have a social media policy as it claimed, and results from another company had not been disclosed to the ASX.
After a notice of discovery was issued to Mr Davison, he failed to produce some documents saying Twitter messages disappeared when his source deleted the account and he had forgotten the password for an email address.
Mr Kumova's barrister, Sue Chrysanthou SC, suggested it was "implausible that a password you were using for 18 months you suddenly forgot?"
"I disagree," Mr Davison said.
He said he never signed off on a media release about him in which he is quoted saying: "I am still a Swami morally, so felt an obligation to say something as I saw it was not right."
It accompanies a biography that Mr Davison spent 12 years living in an Ashram, "renouncing all earthly attachment and devoting himself entirely to a spiritual life".
"You sought to portray publicly that ... you had learned to conduct yourself morally, ethically and honestly," Ms Chrysanthou said.
"If something is not right, as a swami if we see something we think we have to speak up," Mr Davison said.
"It's called Karma yoga, selfless service of the greater good."
"Even though you lied and sought to mislead my client" Ms Chrsysanthou said.
"My (moral obligations) were to the informant and not to the court, I had my priorities thoroughly misplaced."
His Twitter bio - stating "Cynical and Cranky take on the ASX professional company manipulators, I mean operators, making a play on Retail. They can Block but they can't stop the Swamo" - was updated in 2021 to include "citizen journalist".
But in 2021 Justice Geoffrey Flick ruled that he could not claim journalist privilege to protect a source.
Australian Associated Press
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