The founder of an ASX-listed financial technology company stalked a female employee after she threatened to expose their secret romance to his wife – prompting his sacking as CEO, Daily Mail Australia can reveal.
Former Wisr chief executive Anthony Nantes, 44, this week pleaded guilty to stalking the woman, 32, in Sydney between December 2022 and March 2023.
The development comes four months after he was sensationally stood down from his position as the fintech company’s top boss in August – just days before he was arrested by police.
According to court facts obtained by Daily Mail Australia, Nantes harassed the woman for months – barraging her with emails, sending menacing messages guised as bank deposits, and randomly turning up at her house.
The saga began when Nantes started an affair with the staffer in 2019 – just three years after he married his wife and the mother of his three kids, Cassi, in an intimate ceremony in Bali.
The clandestine workplace relationship spanned three years until the situation began to unravel in early December 2022.
Anthony Nantes, 44, has admitted to stalking a Wisr employee
Nantes is pictured with his wife Cassi, with whom he shares three children
Around that time, according to the facts, the woman began to feel intimidated as Nantes started bombarding her with texts and the relationship rapidly deteriorated as the pair started to argue.
During one of the fights, the woman threatened to reveal the affair to Nantes’ wife and other key players at Wisr. In return, the finance entrepreneur threatened to take legal action against her, claiming she was blackmailing him.
Tensions boiled over on December 8 when Nantes rocked up at her home in North Bondi, in the city’s eastern suburbs, and an argument erupted, court documents said.
The woman asked Nantes to leave, but he initially refused. He eventually left after a few minutes.
Three weeks later, he sent a small deposit to the woman’s bank account, writing in the description: ‘Liar and you should be ashamed to be so cruel to me over and over again.’
The situation cooled down for several weeks before heating back up in early March when Nantes bombarded the woman with more than 50 emails, according to the facts.
The woman responded to some, but not all, of the messages.
Unsatisfied with her responses, Nantes decided he wanted to confront her face to face and rocked up to her home days later.
Court documents said the woman was walking out of her unit block when she spotted Nantes loitering outside.
She continued to walk down the street, but Nantes followed – begging her to speak to him as she repeatedly told him to leave, court documents said.
Nantes was a high-flying businessman in the years before his arrest
Nantes (pictured) was dumped as the company’s CEO in the days before he was charged
When he continued to ignore her requests, the woman became afraid and went into a restaurant to seek refuge.
It was only once a staff member approached and asked him to go that Nantes agreed to leave.
According to the facts, Nantes’ behaviour made her fear for her safety – and she later reported the incidents to police.
Nantes founded the fintech company in March 2018 after rebranding DirectMoney Finance to Wisr Finance under an entirely new business model.
Wisr – which has a current market value of $36million – is a non-bank lender, or neo-lender, which provides people with personal or vehicle loans with customised interest rates based on their credit scores.
Over the past five years, the company has won numerous awards – including the 2020 Australian Banking and Innovation Awards Most Innovative Financial Institution and the 2020 Finnies Outstanding Fintech Leader of the Year.
From the helm, Nantes presented as a high-flying businessman, frequently appearing in media interviews, podcasts and speaking at industry events.
Five months after Nantes’ last confrontation with the woman, Wisr announced on August 16 that he had been stood down and would be replaced as CEO by the company’s chief financial officer, Andrew Goodwin.
The following day, Nantes met with police in Dee Why. He then attended Bondi police station the next day, August 18, where he was arrested and charged.
Nantes is pictured speaking about finance at an event about corporate health and welbeing
In a statement at the time, the company said the termination ‘was not occasioned by any financial irregularity or regulatory contravention’ and it was aware the former CEO was ‘the subject of criminal proceedings brought by NSW Police’.
‘The Wisr board had formed the view over recent months that Anthony was unable to perform the role of CEO to the level required by the board and as such the board took action in terminating his employment agreement,’ Wisr said in a statement ASX.
‘As these matters remain before the courts, the company is not able to comment further.’
After the termination, His brother, Wisr chairman John Nantes, subsequently temporarily recused himself from his position for two months to allow stakeholders to review Nantes employment status ‘without any perception of conflicted interests’.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Wisr for comment.
An AVO is currently in place banning Nantes from contacting, stalking, harassing or intimidating the woman or her loved ones for two years.
Nantes is due to be sentenced in Waverley Local Court on 10 January, 2024.
When sentenced in the Local Court, stalking carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a fine of $5500.