Private CEO Berth Milton Suspended, CFO Fired

Dec 20, 2011 3:15 PM PST

BARCELONA — Private Media Group's Berth Milton has been suspended indefinitely as president and CEO of the company.

In addition, Johan Gillborg, Private's chief financial officer and corporate secretary, has been fired.

The suspension and termination were effective last Thursday, XBIZ has learned.

Eric Johnson, the receiver for the Barcelona-based company, will carry out the chief executive responsibilities during the suspension and also will serve as CFO and corporate secretary until one is appointed.

Johnson, who also is CEO of Private unit Sureflix Digital Distribution, ordered the personnel moves.

The receivership is the result of a Las Vegas suit that pits litigating shareholders — led by Consipio Holding BV, Tisbury Services Inc., shareholder Claudio Gianascio and shareholder and former CEO Ilan Bunimovitz — against front-office management.

The plaintiffs claimed the company has been rocked by embezzlement, among other charges, brought on by Milton and former shareholders.

But even after a court-ordered receiver to oversee the company's operations was appointed, Milton was said to have removed $24,000 in Private funds from company bank accounts without the receivership's consent and refused the receiver's entry into the office's building.

In addition, Milton, according to an opposition to Private's emergency stay of order appointing a receiver, "attempted to transfer the valuable Internet domain name Private.com from the corporation's name into his own name without the receiver's knowledge or consent."

Private operates 20 divisions, including Cine Craft Ltd. of Gibralter, Coldfair Holdings Ltd of Cyprus,  Fraserside Holdings Ltd. of Cyprus,  Peach Entertainment Distribution AB of Sweden, Milcap Media Group SL of Spain, Private Media Group Services SL of Spain, Private Benelux BV of The Netherlands, Private France SAS of France, Private North America Ltd. of California, Barbuda BV of The Netherlands, Ceresland SL of Spain, Private Media Group Canada Inc. of Canada, Fraserside IP LLC U.S. of Iowa, ThinkForward Inc. of California, GreenCine Inc. U.S. of Delaware, Mama’s LLC U.S. of Delaware, GameLink LLC of Delaware, eLine LLC of Delaware, Sureflix Digital Distribution Inc. of Delaware and Entruphema Inc. of Canada.

The company's stock, now on the Pink Sheets, has dipped substantially in the past year. A year ago, the stock traded at about $1.60 a share; today it is at 29 cents.

Private officials did not immediately respond to XBIZ for comments on the personnel moves.

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