Past MasterChef contestant and mining CEO Aaron Thomas is being accused of stealing more than $US7 million from the iron ore company he founded, Oakmont Resources.
The 26-year-old allegedly used company money to bankroll a lavish lifestyle that included purchasing luxury cars, Tiffany jewellery and exotic holidays.
Thomas formed the London-based company in 2010, but was fired from the top job in January after board members learned of his dodgy spending.
“Thomas charged Oakmont for a substantial amount of supposed ‘business’ expenses which were, in fact, personal expenses which could have no possible business purpose,” says the lawsuit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court, NY Daily News reports.
It is alleged Thomas spent $US171,000 on a Tiffany engagement ring for his fiancée Thaiana Rodrigues, $US14,500 a month in rent for a Manhattan apartment , and $US91,000 on a trip to Las Vegas.
“During a Caribbean vacation in Turks & Caicos for himself, Rodrigues, and members of Rodrigues’ family, Thomas chartered a luxury yacht and private jet for his travel companions at a cost of over $US30,000, both of which were paid for with Oakmont funds,” the suit adds.
“While Thomas has made some disclosures as to the whereabouts of the misappropriated funds, a sum of around ($US2.5 million) remains unaccounted for.”
Thomas told the newspaper the lawsuit was an attempt by the company’s board to obtain his remaining shares. He pledged to file a countersuit.