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


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.

Liberal Party MPs resign from NSW parliament following corruption allegations and a confession by one to lying to ICAC.


More crooks bite the dust in NSW, what a lying conniving crew they are!

MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell resign from NSW parliament after ICAC revelations

State Political Correspondent
Sydney
Tim Owen leaves ICAC yesterday after giving evidence.

Tim Owen leaves ICAC yesterday after giving evidence. Source: News Corp Australia

Andrew Cornwell and his wife Samanatha Brookes arrive at ICAC.

Andrew Cornwell and his wife Samantha Brookes arrive at ICAC. Source: News Corp Australia

TWO suspended Liberal Party MPs have resigned from NSW parliament following corruption allegations and a confession by one to lying to ICAC.

The resignations of Newcastle MP Tim Owen and Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell were announced to NSW parliament.

NSW Premier Mike Baird says by-elections will be held in the two Hunter Valley seats, despite the state election being only seven months away.

“Everyone in NSW, everyone in the electorates has the right to feel appalled, angered and betrayed,’’ said Mr Baird, who earlier called for the two to quit following revelations at the Independent Commission against Corruption of illegal donations paid by property developers.

Mr Owen today admitted lying to ICAC about returning $10,000 he received from property developer and Newcastle Mayor Jeff McCloy.

Instead he says the money was used for his campaign, in breach of electoral funding laws.

Mr Cornwell has also admitted accepting payments from property developers.

Mr Owen and Mr Cornwell last week stepped down from the parliamentary LIberal Party following the allegations at ICAC. Both initially said they would quit politics at the next election.

Mr Baird it was not up to him to decide the future of the MPs, who were no longer members of the Liberal Party.

But the Premier said words could not explain how disappointed and angry he was at the behaviour exposed by ICAC.

Mr Owen, under cross examination at ICAC, today admitted evidence he gave yesterday about a meeting with Mr McCloy was false.

The penalty for giving false evidence to ICAC is up to five years jail.

Questioned by counsel for Mr McCloy, Mr Owen also admitted that he had met with Mr McCloy last Sunday to discuss what he would tell the commission.

Mr Owen yesterday told ICAC he met Mr McCloy in Hunter Street Newcastle in December 2010 and was given an envelope full of cash. He said he thought about it and decided that he should return the money.

YESTERDAY: MP said no to cash

He told the commission that he dropped it back to Mr McCloy’s letterbox with a note which said: “No Thanks.”

Today he admitted that story was false, and the money — $10,000 — was used for his campaign. According to Mr McCloy’s counsel, Mr Owen had wanted to say the amount was $2000 and that he had given it back.

Quoting Mr Owen’s evidence from Monday, Mr McCloy’s lawyer asked “if the words that follow … ‘and then I went back to his house after that and basically dropped the envelope back in his letter box’,’’ were false.

“Yes. It was,’’ said Mr Owen, a former deputy commander of Australian forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“You said ‘I think I just put a little note on it that said no thanks’, that answer was false?’’ Councillor McCloy’s lawyer pressed.

“Correct,’’ Mr Owen said.

He had told Mr McCloy that he would have to get divorced if he admitted taking the money, the hearing heard.

Mr Owen denied he was asked by Mr McCloy to come clean about the cash.

“You said ‘my wife will divorce me. I’ve sworn on a stack of bibles that I didn’t receive any money,’’ Mr McCloy’s lawyer said.

“I didn’t say that to him, no,’’ Mr Owen said.

The two had shaken hands after the meeting, Mr McCloy’s lawyer said.

Mr Owen said he had wanted to make a statement at the end of proceedings yesterday admitting that his earlier testimony was false, but wasn’t given a chance.

He agreed that he and Mr McCloy had made a tentative agreement to give false evidence to ICAC. “I’m not proud of it.”

He said that Mr Cornwell had told him that ICAC had overheard a conversation between Mr Cornwell and his wife about accepting a separate $10,000 in cash from Mr McCloy.

Mr Owen didn’t know if that was why Mr Cornwell had admitted taking the money.

Mr Cornwell last week admitted receiving $10,000 from Mr McCloy, which he said he handed to his Liberal branch treasurer who in turn donated it to the party.

Mr McCloy has denied this and has rejected calls to stand down as Newcastle mayor – calls repeated today by Minister for Local Government Paul Toole.

Mr McCloy is due to give evidence to ICAC later this week.

Mr Cornwell also admitted that being given $10,000 by property developer Hilton Grugeon for a painting worth far less than that was an attempt to bribe him, and that he had obtained a personal financial benefit.

LIBERAL CASUALTIES OF NSW ICAC:

ARTHUR SINODINOS (NSW Senator)

- Steps down in March as federal assistant treasurer over his dealings with controversial company, Australian Water Holdings.

BARRY O’FARRELL (Ku-ring-gai)

- Resigns as NSW premier on April 16 after misleading ICAC over a $3000 bottle of wine.

- Not accused of corruption.

CHRIS HARTCHER (Terrigal)

- Steps down as energy minister in December, amid corruption allegations.

- Moves to the cross benches in February.

CHRIS SPENCE (The Entrance)

- Moves to the cross benches in February amid corruption allegations.

- Announces in June that he will not contest 2015 state election.

DARREN WEBBER (Wyong)

- Moves to the cross benches in February amid corruption allegations.

- Announces in June that he will not contest 2015 state election.

MARIE FICARRA (upper house MP)

- Allegedly solicited banned donation.

- Moves to the cross benches in April.

MIKE GALLACHER (upper house MP)

- Allegedly hatched a “corrupt scheme’’.

- Steps down as police minister on May 2.

- Joins cross bench.

TIM OWEN (Newcastle)

- Announces on May 12 that he will not contest the 2015 state election because of recurring health issues and ICAC allegations. Concedes banned donors “probably’’ contributed to his 2011 political campaign.

- Moves to the cross benches on August 6 on the first day of new round of ICAC hearings.

- Quits parliament on August 12 after admitting to lying to the ICAC about returning $10,000 to developer and now Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy.

ANDREW CORNWELL (Charlestown)

- Moves to the cross benches, resigns as government whip on August 6 after allegations he was offered $10,000 in a brown paper bag by developer and now Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy in his Bentley. He later admits to receiving the money, in addition to a $10,000 bribe from another developer.

- Announces on August 8 that he will not contest 2015 state election.

- Quits parliament on August 12.

With AAP


 ‘Not a nice look': suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen tells ICAC he returned an envelope stuffed with cash to property developer Jeff McCloy

Suspended MP was aware of illegal donations

Suspended Liberal MP for Newcastle Tim Owen has admitted to a corruption inquiry that he knew banned donors helped bankroll his 2011 election campaign.

A second state MP has told a corruption inquiry that property developer and now Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy handed over a wad of cash before the last state election, in breach of laws banning political donations from property developers.

In an explosive day of evidence on Monday, suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) that he met Mr McCloy in Hunter Street, Newcastle before the 2011 election, where he was given a “thin envelope” stuffed with $100 bills.

'I must admit I thought, 'Hmm, what do I do with this?',' said suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen of an envelope of cash.

‘I must admit I thought, ‘Hmm, what do I do with this?’,’ said suspended Liberal MP Tim Owen of an envelope of cash. Photo: Phil Hearne

 Mr Owen, who won the seat of Newcastle, said Mr McCloy did not say anything as he handed over the money.

“What? No foreplay?” quipped counsel assisting the commission, Geoffrey Watson, SC.

“I took it at the time and I must admit I thought, ‘Hmm, what do I do with this?’ ” Mr Owen said.

Andrew Cornwell.
Andrew Cornwell. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Days later, he put the envelope of cash in Mr McCloy’s letterbox with a note to the effect of “no thanks”. bloody liar

“It just wasn’t a particularly nice look, I’ve got to say,” Mr Owen said.

The evidence comes days after Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell told the commission that Mr McCloy had given him an envelope containing $10,000 in cash at a clandestine meeting in Mr McCloy’s Bentley.

Mr Cornwell, who has taken leave from parliament and who quit the Liberal Party on Friday, has admitted to the inquiry that he took the money from Mr McCloy and that it went into his own campaign coffers. Since 2009, it has been illegal in NSW to accept campaign donations from property developers.

In another sensational development, Mr Owen admitted that after he gave evidence in a secret hearing at the ICAC in May, he met Mr McCloy at a coffee shop in Sydney.

It is an offence to discuss evidence given in private hearings but Mr Owen claimed he was merely asking Mr McCloy if there was “anything else idiotic” he might have done in relation to Mr Owen’s campaign.

After the private hearing, Mr Owen announced that he would not contest next year’s election.

The inquiry heard that Mr McCloy and another property developer, Hilton Grugeon, jointly paid the $20,000 wage of Mr Owen’s campaign media adviser Luke Grant.

Mr Owen repeatedly tried to distance himself from a raft of illegalities regarding his election campaign funding. Under electoral funding laws, politicians are only guilty of a criminal offence if they were aware at the time they accepted the donation of “the facts that result in the act being unlawful”.

He claimed that he was too busy campaigning, or that he relied on others, including his campaign manager Hugh Thomson, or senior Liberal and former police minister Mike Gallacher, to advise him of the legalities of various donations.

“If they believed it was legal … then I took their word,” Mr Owen said. However, earlier on Monday he admitted  that he had known for years that banned donors helped to bankroll his campaign and it was “clearly not above board”.

“All I can say is, I am dreadfully sorry,” he said. Mr Owen claimed he “didn’t actually ping to the fact that something was illegal” until a few months after election.

He said he had known since late 2010 or early 2011 that Nathan Tinkler’s property development group Buildev helped to fund his campaign, and he was aware the company was a property developer. However, he insisted Mr Tinkler’s company “got nothing out of me, I can tell you”.

On Monday, Mr Watson foreshadowed that the commission would call federal Liberal MP Bob Baldwin, who supported Mr Tinkler’s plans for a coal loader in Newcastle.The inquiry has heard Buildev made donations to Mr Baldwin, but it is not illegal for property developers to give donations to federal candidates and politicians.


 ICAC: NSW MP Andrew Cornwell quits Liberal Party, won’t seek re-election after ‘huge mistake’

Fri 8 Aug 2014, 8:54pm

Newcastle MP Tim Owen stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party on Wednesday.

Photo: Newcastle MP Tim Owen stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party on Wednesday. (ABC: Nick Gerber)

Related Story: MP paid tax bill with developer’s cheque: ICAC
Related Story: Another Hunter Liberal MP drawn into corruption inquiry

Another New South Wales MP at the centre of a corruption inquiry has announced he will not re-contest the next state election.

Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell, who stood aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party on Wednesday, said he considered the interests of his electorate and his family in making the decision not to stand for re-election.

“Following my appearance at the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) yesterday I have thought carefully about what is in the best interests of the people of Charlestown,” Mr Cornwell said in a statement.

“I have decided that I will not contest the next state election.

“Today, I tendered my resignation from the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division).

“I have sought parliamentary leave from the Speaker because these matters have significantly impacted my family and, while I take full responsibility for my own actions, I need to care for my family during this time.”

The announcement follows Mr Cornwell’s admission he paid his tax bill with a cheque from property developer Hilton Grugeon, which was given in exchange for an overvalued painting.

When asked why he did not refuse what was an illegal donation from a developer or take it to the police, he said: “It was a huge mistake.”

Tim Owen ‘knew’ developers were paying staffer

The evidence before the ICAC made it as “plain as day” that Newcastle MP Tim Owen knew one of his election campaign staff members was being paid by developers, the commission has been told.

Liberal Party campaign staffer Josh Hodges has admitted he knew his work on Mr Owen’s 2011 campaign was being bankrolled by Nathan Tinkler’s development firm Buildev and developer Bill Saddington.

Mr Hodges told the inquiry he was told to issue fake invoices to the development firms for consultancy work, totalling about $10,000.

The counsel assisting the commission, Geoffrey Watson SC, put to him: “You would have known they were property developers and because of that prohibited donors?”

Mr Hodges replied: “Yes.”

Mr Watson then asked: “Did you understand that this was a scheme, the point of which was to avoid the electoral funding laws?”

“I did, yes,” Mr Hodges answered.

Mr Watson tendered text messages and phone records that he said showed Mr Owen knew Mr Saddington and Buildev were paying Mr Hodges’ wages.

One text message Mr Owen sent on February 1, 2011, said: “Would Bill Saddington be happy to start paying him ASAP?”

Mr Watson said it also appeared that Mr Owen intervened when Buildev was late to pay Mr Hodges.

When the money had not come through four months after the election, Mr Owen’s campaign manager Hugh Thomson sent a text message asking him to call “DW” and “lean on him – it’s been promised for months”.

Mr Owens replied: “Will do.”

Phone records show Mr Owen then called Buildev executive Darren Williams, and the inquiry heard the money was then paid to Mr Hodges.

“It’s plain as day looking at all of this that Mr Owen was aware of the involvement of Buildev,” Mr Watson said.

Earlier, Mr Hodges told the hearing he had had discussions with Buildev about its plans to build a coal loader in Newcastle.

Mr Watson asked him if he could see anything wrong with a property developer pitching a proposal to a politician and his adviser while illegally bankrolling that politician’s campaign.

Mr Hodges replied: “He can’t achieve a lot when he’s not in Parliament.”

He said Buildev would have made donations to get “an ear” or “access”, but not an approval for the coal load project.

Who wants to be a unpaid crime blog reporter/contributer?


Not real journo’s who still have a job, maybe cadets (but not good for resume…mmm)

Maybe old school scribes who wish they could stay in the game!

How about folks like me with no relevant qualifications but gives a toss about the crimes in their communities?

The pay-off is a verdict like today GBC cowardly wife killer.

People like me? You relate to how I write?

Hey cant spell well, 2 finger typer…So am I YES…Our stuff gets checked before we post.

Sounds like you?

GOOD keep reading

This site has had massive coverage lately (I cover non famous crimes too)

I’m thinking along the lines of a Co-ordinator in each state

That co-ordinator runs that states crimes and has authors who get the stories up.

What do you think?

Sound good, bad, troublesome, confusing?

All I want is to give the best coverage of what is going on in our communities.

The community expectations has/have?  outgrown my skills honestly…

Each state, minimum deserves better coverage. The good people email me why haven’t you covered this rape, or that kidnapping, or the death of a cousin in my indigenous community.

You could help us!

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