Mick Featherstone, ex Queensland police detective, investigated over alleged fraud, links to bikies

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15 years as a copper earning better than most was not enough for this snake.

Greedy people cannot help themselves to the big pie it seems. Including coppers who are supposed to fight against this stuff. “Mike Featherstone” might sound like a new Hollywood Cop comedy film that might of been played by the late great Robin Williams…but this ex copper is a crim, a traitor and a grub, a liar, informant and insider.

Have a lot more but needed to see it mainstream first for legal reasons folks…

Michael Featherstone, former senior Queensland police detective, investigated over alleged fraud, links to bikies

Tue 2 Sep 2014, 6:46pm

Former senior police detective Michael Featherstone

Photo: Michael Featherstone is at the centre of a major corruption and money laundering investigation. (Tony Phillips)

A former senior police detective is at the centre of a major corruption and money laundering investigation by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

Investigators are probing Michael Featherstone’s links to senior serving and former police officers on the Gold Coast and elsewhere, his possible connections to bikies and his role in cold-calling companies alleged to be involved in fraud.

The companies, which advertise horse-racing betting software and other investments, are alleged to have defrauded hundreds of people across Australia in scams worth millions of dollars.

The ABC can reveal that officers from the Queensland police anti-bikie taskforce Maxima found suspected links to Mr Featherstone, a former fraud squad detective and one-time head of Surfers Paradise CIB, while investigating fraud allegations against members of the Black Uhlans and Bandidos outlaw motorcycle clubs earlier this year.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

Police raided a number of premises including the Southport offices of Mr Featherstone’s private investigations company Phoenix Global, taking away computer equipment.

They referred the matter to the CCC because of the body’s forensic accounting expertise and the possible involvement of police officers in protecting Mr Featherstone, his clients and associates.

One senior police officer told the ABC: “We realised we can’t have police officers investigating his links with other police.”

I naturally asked, ‘what’s this money for?’ and they said it was ‘just wages, we’re just lining it up before Christmas and this is just wages for staff and profits from the horse racing software’.

UKHBB director Johnny Kane

The CCC has set up an operation called Lima Violin II to investigate fraud allegations involving three companies: UK Home Based Business (UKHBB), Lay Trading Solutions and Pegasus Trader.

However, a parallel investigation by the ABC’s 7.30 program has uncovered evidence of the involvement of Mr Featherstone and Phoenix Global, not only with two of these companies but a range of alleged Gold Coast scams dating back almost 10 years.

They are linked to the Gold Coast private investigator in various ways – through his involvement in recruiting and managing patsy directors on behalf of others, by his own direct role as a director or shareholder, or by his providing advice on how to set up, run and protect such operations.

The ABC has identified dozens of customers of UKHBB who between them lost almost $4 million.

Several have told the ABC they received emails earlier this year saying their accounts had been suspended because of a “software problem”.

But the ABC has established that there was no software problem: the order to close UKHBB came late last year from Phoenix Global.

Correspondence obtained by the ABC shows Phoenix Global recruited and gave day-to-day instructions to the directors of UKHBB and Pegasus Trader to carry out banking and other administrative jobs.

Security guard recruited as UKHBB frontman

Johnny Kane, who works as a security guard, was recruited to be the director of UKHBB.

Security guard Johnny Kane

Security guard Johnny Kane

He has described to the ABC how Mr Featherstone convinced him to be the front-man for UKHBB and other companies, though Mr Featherstone had no official links with these companies and was not part of their management.

Mr Kane said his duties had also included picking up large quantities of cash from the bank and delivering it to the offices of UKHBB and Phoenix Global.

“Before Christmas I was asked to do that for about four days,” Mr Kane said.

“We’re talking $40,000 per cheque, three times a day, for about a week.

“I naturally asked, ‘what’s this money for?’ and they said it was ‘just wages, we’re just lining it up before Christmas and this is just wages for staff and profits from the horse racing software’.”

 

Extract of UKHBB bank statement showing cheque withdrawals Infographic: An extract of a bank statement for UKHBB, showing cheque withdrawals.

In an email from Phoenix Global to Mr Kane dated December 12, Mr Featherstone’s son Zach asked him to “be available to close the UKHB bank accounts on the 24th of December 2013″.

Bank statements show UKHBB collected at least $4 million in fees for trading licences in the second half of last year. More than a quarter of this was received in December.

Almost $500,000 was immediately withdrawn from the account by cheque in round amounts of between $5,000 and $40,000. A few weeks later the account was empty.

Separately, the ABC has established Mr Featherstone and Phoenix Global have played a central role in a series of other race-betting syndicates with a network of associates in Australia and overseas, one of whom is a convicted fraudster.

In an email discussing one such venture, Mr Featherstone wrote earlier this year: “This initiative should raise a lot of $$, but it is important that it is coordinated professionally… you will also need to consider timing and the medium of delivery, so that it doesn’t appear to be a scam or cash grab.”

Other documents show Phoenix Global used the name of someone who never worked at the company to create fake payslips that were used this year to obtain $150,000 of car finance as well as credit cards for one of these race-betting syndicates.

In a statement issued by his lawyers, Mr Featherstone denied any involvement in the running or management of UKHBB or any other race betting or software operation.

He acknowledged the instruction to close the UKHBB account had come from his office but said it was a “risk management” measure because of a “security breach”, without providing further details.

Asked about the fake payslips, Mr Featherstone’s lawyer said his client had provided a statement to police that “a person or persons had unlawfully used its brand to create a false document and forged our client’s signature to gain an advantage

Featherstone delivered speech for high-ranking officer

Who is Michael Featherstone?

Mick Featherstone served in the QPS from 1981 until late 1996.

Called as a witness by the 1997 Carter Inquiry into police involvement in the drug trade, he denied wrongdoing over the alleged disappearance of more than $20,000 in seized drug money while it was in his custody at Southport watch house.

He was also investigated over allegations he planted drugs on a suspect with whom he was personally connected, and his connection to a barrister who was under police investigation. No charges were ever brought against him.

Mr Featherstone resigned from the QPS at age 33. According to the QPS he did so under special arrangements following a recommendation from the Commissioner. Media reports at the time said this allowed him to get a significant payout.

Phoenix Global has provided “compliance” services to a range of companies on the Gold Coast, some of which are race-betting operations registered in Vanuatu.

It specialises in finding and removing adverse or defamatory internet posts about its clients, and offers investigative services to people facing criminal charges.

Mr Featherstone’s clients have included convicted child rapist John Chardon, whose wife Novy is missing, presumed dead; convicted fraudster Glenn Connelly; and Mario Girardo, who was jailed in 2010 over kidnap and extortion.

He has also worked for three-time bankrupt property spruiker and so-called “King Con” Dudley Quinlivan, and is a director of several companies connected to Michael King, who is being prosecuted by ASIC for allegedly acting dishonestly over a $150 million loan.

The Queensland Office of Fair Trading, which licences private investigators, declined to say whether it had ever received complaints about Mr Featherstone or Phoenix Global.

Mr Featherstone has been photographed socialising with senior serving officers, was endorsed online by a Brisbane inspector and even gave a speech at a recent send-off for a high-ranking Gold Coast officer.

According to his lawyer, Mr Featherstone “was asked to make a short speech” at the event, a “farewell retirement for an officer he had served with in the 1980s”.

The lawyer said Mr Featherstone “has no friendship or association with any serving police officer”.

A former detective has told the ABC that he discovered Mr Featherstone’s social links to this high-ranking officer while investigating fraud allegations on the Gold Coast and raised it with his superiors.

“They told me, ‘don’t go there’,” he said.

Mr Featherstone was the subject of a detailed complaint to Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission in 2010 after it emerged he had done the work of Gold Coast police in collecting witness statements in a trespass case where the complainant was one of his clients.

There is no evidence of any action being taken against him.

NSW private investigator Ken Gamble, working on behalf of a group of scam victims, presented a detailed brief of evidence naming Mr Featherstone to the Queensland police fraud squad in 2012, but received no response.

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) said in a statement it had requested further information from Mr Gamble and that it had not been provided.

Mr Gamble said police had never made such a request and the QPS statement was “false and misleading”.

Former nightclub owner alleged to be key figure in scams

A key figure in the scams is alleged to be Phil Cropper, who is said to have been the sales manager of UKHBB and to have run other boiler-room operations linked to Mr Featherstone.

Mr Cropper, a former nightclub owner who was acquitted of an extortion attempt on actor Russell Crowe in 2002, is thought to have fled overseas since the raid on Mr Featherstone’s premises and the ABC has been unable to contact him.

Mr Kane said he now faced bankruptcy because of lawsuits filed against him by victims.

Mr Kane said that while UKHBB was operating he had frequently sought and received reassurance from Mr Featherstone that what he was being asked to do was legal.

He said his home had been raided by police in February and he had later been shocked to find how widely known Mr Featherstone’s activities were on the Gold Coast.

“When I went to Legal Aid to tell them about my story, they finished my story for me. They knew exactly what I was talking about,” he said.

“They rattled off a list of names and said ‘did you work for one of these people?’ and I knew all the names.

“One of the names was Featherstone.”

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Kiwi jockey David Walker bet scandal disgraces the industry again!


Kiwi jockey disgraced in betting scandal that shocks industry

Walker

Will he ride again? Disgraced jockey David Walker bets on rival horse.In a story that has shocked the typically clean natured New Zealand racing scene, jockey David Walker has had his riding licence suspended after an investigation was launched into one of his rides at Awapuni earlier this year.

The Central Districts jockey will face charges of pulling up a horse so he could collect from a head-to-head bet he ‘allegedly’ placed on a rival horse. The senior rider was aboard Watch Your Man who sat near the rear of the field but video shows he never gave his mount a chance and when he found clear running room, he simply sat on the horse and didn’t move a muscle.

When stewards questioned Walker about the ride he claimed that he was denied any clear running room but that he also had cramp in his hands – something he told stewards before the inquiry was launched. Further investigations by the Racing Integrity Unit concluded that Walker did place a bet, to which he has now admitted to, but in New Zealand it is legal to place a bet on a horse you are riding, however, placing a bet against a rival is not permitted and Walker faces serious charges.

Reports state that the bet was in excess of $500 which seems rather pointless, but he isn’t the first jockey to illegally wager on a race.

Remarkably, Walker was seen via CCTV footage to be collecting his winnings after the race. The rival horse, St Ransom, closed at $1.80 in the head-to-head market but the price was higher before the large bet was placed – leaving Walker to likely double his money.

Walker’s excuse of cramping in the hands is certainly one of the strangest we have come across, as cramping in the hands is a very rare trait for jockeys – he also showed no signs of loosening his grip throughout the race.

The Racing Integrity Unit is now investigating other rides by Walker but he has been charged with this offence and he can’t ride till his court hearing is finished.

If he is found guilty under rule 801, which is the act of committing a dishonest act to do with racing or betting, he can be disqualified for any period, including life. Walker has been charged with rule 707 which prohibits jockeys betting on horses they are not riding.

RIU general manager Mike Godber said given the seriousness of the charges, his licence must be suspended immediately.

“The allegations before Mr Walker are serious and threaten the very fabric of thoroughbred racing.

“We therefore consider the continued participation of Mr Walker in racing prior to the JCA hearing would pose an unacceptable risk to the image, interests and integrity of racing,” he said.

People in the industry are now calling for change. There is not only the issue of David Walker, who should be made an example of in New Zealand if the laws don’t change, but also the rule that jockeys are allowed to bet on their own horses – coupled with the head-to-head betting options.

Such a betting option allows for this ‘spot fixing’ to be executed with ease and for jockeys who aren’t making steady money, this could become appealing to them. Why jockeys are allowed to place bets in races that involves them riding is beyond us, but rules are there to be changed and rewritten.

Walker isn’t, nor won’t be the last jockey to try and make an extra dollar on a race. Damien Oliver was a highly noted case when he bet $10,000 on a rival horse to win at Moonee Valley. He served his time and now most of the industry has moved on – but the lesser known David Walker might not be so lucky. The 38-year-old has struggled with weight and getting rides throughout his career, and now trainers have a reason to shun him. He also loses out his ride on Scapolo in the $200,000 Group One Makfi Stakes at Hastings tomorrow – the first Group One of the season.

The Makfi Stakes includes the Australian performed Veyron, Survived, Sacred Star and Xanadu. Sportsbet.com.au have a fixed odds market set with recent winner I Do the current $4.80 favourite upon the scratching of Silent Achiever.

JODHI Meares drunk driving-Pathetic tap on wrist needs APPEAL

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This gallery contains 6 photos.


What a laugh the rich and famous must have at us normal folks.

Drink and drive, no probs,

No licence no probs,

Multiple driving infringements and penalties, no probs.

Hire a so called celebrity lawyer, bang some heads and get of for sweet FA!

Oh my mail has been stolen for 10 years, I didn’t get the fines. REALLY.

You managed to get the invites to B grade red carpets arrive…Selective these thieves who steal useless mail! We used to say there are 2 sets of rules,

I am no longer sure how many sets they are. The rich (and de-facto rich via marriage) seem to have magic powers when dealing with magistrates. Especially in SYDNEY.

It is outrageous a women with her driving record was dealt with this way. The DPP better appeal or they will be dealing the the precedent of J. Meares forever more ( not that that means much) Continue reading

David Eastman gets bail- conviction quashed and a retrial ordered.


David Eastman: The history of a legal saga spanning 25 years

Fri 22 Aug 2014, 3:16pm

David Eastman was arrested for murder in 1992.

Photo: David Eastman was arrested for murder in 1992. (ABC News)

David Harold Eastman is at the centre of one of Australia’s longest-running legal sagas.

He has served more than 19 years in jail for the 1989 murder of Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Winchester in Canberra.

Today the ACT Supreme Court has quashed his conviction and ordered a retrial.

In May the Martin inquiry recommended Eastman’s murder conviction be quashed, primarily because of flaws in the forensic case developed by scientist Robert Collins Barnes.

Inquiry head Justice Brian Martin found Eastman did not receive a fair trial and there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice.

He said a retrial would not be feasible nor fair, but that the conviction should be quashed.

That was despite Justice Martin saying he personally thought Eastman was guilty.

A full bench of the Supreme Court, made up of three acting Judges appointed to sit on the ACT bench, Justice Steven Rares, Justice Michael Wigney and Acting Justice Dennis Cowdroy, spent a month considering the report after taking submissions from the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions and Eastman’s lawyers.

Eastman has lost numerous appeals

Eastman became a suspect for the murder of Mr Winchester the day after the killing.

David Eastman’s legal battle timeline

  • January 10, 1989 – AFP assistant commissioner Colin Winchester shot dead in his neighbour’s driveway
  • January 11, 1989 – David Harold Eastman becomes a suspect
  • August 1989 – Inquest into the death commences and ends with an open finding
  • November 1992 – Inquest reopens
  • December 24, 1992 – Eastman committed to stand trial for murder
  • May 16, 1995 – Eastman arraigned on one count of murder, trial begins
  • June 29, 1995 – Eastman’s bail revoked after a dispute with Justice Kenneth Carruthers
  • November 3, 1995 – Eastman found guilty of murder
  • November 10, 1995 – Eastman sentenced to life in prison
  • May 2000 – High Court challenges to overturn conviction dismissed
  • October 6, 2005 – Miles inquiry reports Eastman was fit to plead except for a short period – conviction stands
  • September 3, 2012 – Justice Shane Marshall orders inquiry into Eastman’s conviction
  • November 5, 2013 – Eastman inquiry begins
  • May 30, 2014 – Inquiry recommends Eastman’s conviction be quashed
  • August 22, 2014- ACT Supreme Court quashes Eastman’s conviction and orders retrial

Mr Winchester was shot as he got out of his car in his neighbour’s driveway at Deakin on January 10, 1989.

Detectives targeted Eastman who had threatened Mr Winchester after he refused to help him have an assault charge withdrawn.

Eastman believed if he was convicted for that crime it would thwart his bid to rejoin the public service.

Eastman was eventually convicted of killing Colin Winchester in 1995 and sentenced to life in jail.

He has long protested his innocence, through numerous appeals including in the High Court.

A major inquiry also considered Eastman’s fitness to plead at the original trial.

His court appearances were often fraught and unpredictable as he regularly sacked his legal team, including during the original trial.

In the end, Eastman’s murder conviction was secured by the forensic case which included key evidence linking Eastman’s car with the scene of the shooting.

Sentencing him in 1995, Justice Ken Carruthers said: “This investigation must surely rank as one of the most skilled, sophisticated and determined forensic investigations in the history of criminal investigation in Australia.”

But the recent inquiry turned that on its head.

The critical issue was that Mr Barnes had claimed gunshot residue in Eastman’s car was indistinguishable from that at the scene.

In the latest inquiry he was forced to concede that the evidence was misleading and the link between the scene and Eastman’s car was discredited.

From there the forensic case crumbled amid revelations there had been inadequate record-keeping and evidence had been destroyed.

The Martin Inquiry made other adverse findings about the prosecution and police not making disclosures to the defence.

The inquiry also considered fresh evidence in secret hearings about the possibility of Mafia involvement.

But in the end it was the forensic case which determined the outcome.

In his report, Justice Martin wrote: “The issue of guilt was determined on the basis of deeply flawed forensic evidence in circumstances where the applicant was denied procedural fairness in respect of a fundamental feature of the trial process concerned with disclosure by the prosecution of all relevant material.

“In addition, evidence of inadequacies and flaws in the case file and case work of the key forensic scientists were unknown to everyone involved in the investigation and trial.”

Justice Martin said he thought Eastman had probably committed the crime, but had not had a fair trial and his conviction should be quashed.

“In my view the substantial miscarriage of justice suffered by the applicant should not be allowed to stand uncorrected,” he wrote.

His findings gave a dramatic twist to one of the most significant legal battles in Australia’s history.

Blanket suppression order on corruption case biggest in History


WikiLeaks court document: Website publishes details of suppression order granted in June

Julian Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since June, 2012.

Photo: Julian Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since June, 2012. (AFP: Carl Court)

The WikiLeaks website has published details of a suppression order granted last month ordering Australian media not to publish any details of a case.

The order prevents publication of any information about the case, including the names of some international figures and some of their relatives.

Fairfax quotes WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defending the publication of the secret order despite the legal implications.

Mr Assange has told Fairfax it is completely egregious to block the public’s right to know and suppress the media, especially in cases of international corruption involving politicians and subsidiaries of a public organisation.

He says WikiLeaks will work to protect Australians’ right to know even when the Government tries to block it.

Mr Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for more than two years, after fleeing there in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sexual assault allegations, which he denies.

He believes the allegations are politically motivated and linked to WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of classified US documents.

Mr Assange has not been formally charged with any offences, but Britain has made it clear he will be arrested if he tries to leave the embassy.

He says WikiLeaks does not support one group or political party but rather supports those who act in an open and transparent manner.


 

Australia bans reporting of multi-nation corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam

Today, 29 July 2014, WikiLeaks releases an unprecedented Australian censorship order concerning a multi-million dollar corruption case explicitly naming the current and past heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and other senior officials.

The super-injunction invokes “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia’s international relations”. The court-issued gag order follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.

The suppression order lists 17 individuals, including “any current or former Prime Minister of Malaysia”, “Truong Tan San, currently President of Vietnam”, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (also known as SBY), currently President of Indonesia (since 2004)”, “Megawati Sukarnoputri (also known as Mega), a former President of Indonesia (2001–2004) and current leader of the PDI-P political party” and 14 other senior officials and relatives from those countries, who specifically may not be named in connection with the corruption investigation.

The document also specifically bans the publication of the order itself as well as an affidavit affirmed last month by Australia’s representative to ASEAN Gillian Bird, who has just been appointed as Australia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

The gag order effectively blacks out the largest high-level corruption case in Australia and the region.

The last known blanket suppression order of this nature was granted in 1995 and concerned the joint US-Australian intelligence spying operation against the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.

WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange said about the order:

“With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public. This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government.”

“The concept of ‘national security’ is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere. It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case, which concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank. Who is brokering our deals, and how are we brokering them as a nation? Corruption investigations and secret gag orders for ‘national security’ reasons are strange bedfellows. It is ironic that it took Tony Abbott to bring the worst of ‘Asian Values’ to Australia.”

Read the Australia-wide censorship order for corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.