Pokies giant gets orders against senior staffer who allegedly downloaded cache of company documents

Aristocrat Leisure has won urgent orders stopping its head of game design from using any of the 6800 files he allegedly downloaded from the group’s servers.

The pokies and online gambling games giant rushed to the Federal Court this week alleging in a civil matter that its Sydney-based principal director of game design, Dinh Toan “Tony” Tran, had made downloads in early December. According to court documents, the downloads allegedly took place on a Sunday at 7am.

Aristocrat Leisure pioneered poker machines that dominate Australia’s pubs, clubs and casinos.
Aristocrat Leisure pioneered poker machines that dominate Australia’s pubs, clubs and casinos.Credit: Peter Braig

Aristocrat is best known as the largest supplier of pokies machines in Australia, but it also has a fast-growing division that creates games for online casinos such as slot games.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Tran has worked for Aristocrat since 2008 in game design roles at the company and managed a team of 42 people at the gambling industry giant.

His profile also boasts a range of games he has helped develop over his career at Aristocrat and previously Konami Games, including the hugely popular Gold Stacks game series, Prosperity Pig and Choy’s Kingdom.

He also lists a range of patents on his profile, where he is listed as the lead inventor on the US patent registry and the patent is assigned to Aristocrat.

Tran was represented at a short hearing regarding the allegations on Thursday to discuss the timeline of the civil proceedings.

His counsel, Ken Brotherson, told the court the orders were put in place without Tran being informed of proceedings and not being given a chance to oppose the orders. Tran has been contacted for comment via his counsel to clarify if he intends to defend the allegations and if the allegations are based on a misunderstanding between Tran and the company.

Aristocrat declined to comment on the matter as it was before the courts.

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Counsel for Aristocrat, John Hennessy, SC, told the court that a search of Tran’s property in western Sydney took place on Wednesday this week at 9am. During that search, a range of electronic devices belonging to Tran were searched and seized by an independent lawyer appointed by the court to assess the allegations by Aristocrat against Tran.

“There was the relevant USB, which is exhibit 1, that was the focus of the investigation and then there were five other USBs,” Hennessy told the court.

On Tuesday, Justice Yaseen Shariff issued orders restraining Tran from using or disclosing any of the nearly 6800 company files he allegedly downloaded and any other confidential information or copyright protected material that might be in his possession.

He is also restrained from destroying any of the material while an independent lawyer and independent computer experts assess whether he was indeed in receipt of the documents allegedly downloaded from Aristocrat’s servers.

Those orders also granted the independent lawyer the ability to search Tran’s property, which occurred on Wednesday.

The court has also ordered that Tran hand over any passwords, usernames or other information necessary to access the computers and mobile phones he was provided with by Aristocrat to use during his employment.

The case continues. A further hearing will be held in February.

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Source: Thanks smh.com