Gerard Baden-Clay-What jury didn’t hear

Information about Allison’s autopsy released

Previously suppressed evidence involving testimony from the pathologist who did the autopsy on Allison Baden-Clay has now been released.

Dr Nathan Milne could not determine a cause of death for Allison in 2012, but noted three injuries which he concluded could have been the result of blunt force from an assault.

They included an abnormality to the head which may have been a subdural haemorrhage, bruising on the chest wall and a chipped tooth.

Dr Milne’s report said it was open to conclude that Allison was smothered or strangled, possibly with her jumper.

But in a pre-trial hearing in February, the defence applied to have some of Dr Milne’s evidence excluded because it was speculative or prejudicial.

Justice Peter Applegarth ruled his orders on the evidence not be published until the verdict.

July 16, 2014 – 6:15PM will be updated with bits highlighted by YELLOW

DETECTIVES bugged the flowers at Allison Baden-Clay’s funeral in an extraordinary bid to catch her husband confessing.

The lengths police went to in their investigation into Allison’s disappearance and death can now be revealed.

Police set the trap because they thought Gerard Baden-Clay might break down if he was alone with the coffin.

SPECIAL FEATURE: From dream life to suburban nightmare

KEY EVIDENCE: Cops knew this was face of a killer

DOUBLE LIFE: Baden-Clay’s asked woman to kill his wife

SHATTERED DREAMS: ‘I wanted to be Mrs Baden-Clay’

However the attempt failed when Baden-Clay arrived to the funeral late with his young daughters in tow. The bugging was one of a number of bids to trap Baden-Clay.

His every move was monitored during the investigation. Phone taps picked up conversations between him and Toni McHugh.

There were also reported sightings around the Kholo Creek area that may have indicated more than one person was involved but police could not substantiate them.

Gerard Baden-Clay at the funeral of Allison Baden-Clay.

Gerard Baden-Clay at the funeral of his wife Allison. Photographer: Liam Kidston Source: News Limited

Detectives searching for a breakthrough went far and wide in the investigation. Photos of Baden-Clay’s scratches were sent to the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency for advice and plant cuttings from the Baden-Clay residence were sent to South Australia.

Experts in Western Australia were consulted to eliminate death by drowning, and maggots were sent to Wollongong to determine their age.

A caterpillar expert was consulted about the marks on Baden-Clay’s neck and chest and a Queensland botanist played a key role in examining the leaves found in Allison’s hair.

Eventually detectives swooped on the Baden-Clay family in the days before his arrest in a final bid to extract more evidence.

A car similar to Allison Baden-Clay’s silver Captiva was recorded on CCTV at the Kenmore roundabout on the night she went missing.

Detectives could not identify the vehicle on the grainy footage so selected a range of vehicles with similar shapes and drove them to the roundabout at the same time of night to see if they matched.

They also stopped motorists on the chance a shift worker who regularly drove past might have seen one of the Baden-Clay cars or witnessed anything else relevant.

The exercises did not yield any significant evidence.

But ultimately it was the evidence on Baden-Clay himself the day he reported his wife missing that convicted him. The scratches on his face marked him as a murderer

GBC was looking for women on the world’s largest sex, dating and swingers site on New Year’s Eve 2010

“Looking for discrete (sic) sex,” Gerard Baden-Clay typed.

“Married but don’t want to be – looking for some sex on the side!”

It was New Year’s Eve 2010, and Gerard was starting early with a resolution to escape his suburban life. The wife he no longer loved. The mistress who wanted him to herself.

A long-time-married, long-time-cheating husband with much-forgotten marriage vows


Baden-Clay murder: Police won’t rule out reports Allison’s coffin was bugged in bid to catch killer

Updated Wed 16 Jul 2014, 7:50pm AEST

The hearse leaves the church

Photo: Queensland Police say “wide and varied strategies” were used to catch Allison Baden-Clay’s killer. (ABC/Supplied)

The former head of the Queensland Police homicide squad is not ruling out reports that Allison Baden-Clay’s coffin or flowers were bugged at her funeral in a bid to catch her killer.

Former real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay was yesterday sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murdering his wife in 2012.

He reported her missing 10 days before her body was found on the bank of Kholo Creek in Brisbane.

Detective Superintendent Brian Wilkins, who headed the investigation into Allison’s murder, told 612 ABC Brisbane’s Steve Austin that police were immediately suspicious of Baden-Clay because his face was scratched and “things did not add up”.

He also said “wide and varied strategies” were used to gather evidence.

Austin: I’m interested in what “wide and varied” means. We’ve read that you went to such lengths as bugging either the flowers or the coffin of Allison Baden-Clay at the funeral in the hope of getting some sort of under-the-breath or private confession from Mr Baden-Clay, is that true?

Wilkins: I’m not in a position to talk about methodologies that we utilise. As I said the investigation is in relation to a very, very serious crime and the police will use whatever lawful tactic that we have to gather evidence to sustain a conviction and place a person before the court.

Austin: It’s been reported in today’s Courier-Mail newspaper – is that report accurate or inaccurate? About the bugging of elements of the funeral of Allison Baden-Clay.

Wilkins: As I said a vast array of investigative strategies are used and those investigative strategies are utilised in a lawful fashion and I don’t want to go into specific methodologies that were utilised.


Information about Allison’s autopsy released

Previously suppressed evidence involving testimony from the pathologist who did the autopsy on Allison Baden-Clay has now been released.

Dr Nathan Milne could not determine a cause of death for Allison in 2012, but noted three injuries which he concluded could have been the result of blunt force from an assault.

They included an abnormality to the head which may have been a subdural haemorrhage, bruising on the chest wall and a chipped tooth.

Dr Milne’s report said it was open to conclude that Allison was smothered or strangled, possibly with her jumper.

But in a pre-trial hearing in February, the defence applied to have some of Dr Milne’s evidence excluded because it was speculative or prejudicial.

Justice Peter Applegarth ruled his orders on the evidence not be published until the verdict.

Case was difficult to prove due to circumstantial evidence

Detective Superintendent Wilkins says cases based on circumstantial evidence are more challenging to prove when there are no witnesses and no admissions.

He says police were pleased with the verdict but were taken aback by the intense public interest in the case.

“I’ve been in the police for many years and involved in hundreds of homicide investigations and certainly it was the largest media contingent and certainly the largest public interest I’ve seen,” he said.

“I was involved in the Daniel Morcombe investigation. That had significant media and public interest, but it was nowhere near the media and public interest that we’ve recently viewed.”

Bruce Morcombe, whose 13 year old son Daniel was abducted and murdered in 2003, says it is crucial the Baden-Clay children are now given support.

“We feel so sad about those children – the extended family, particularly the children,” he said.

“You know they’ve not only lost mum but they’ve lost Dad as well. We hope and pray and whatever we can do within the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to support those kids we will do that for sure.”

There is no word yet on whether Baden-Clay will appeal against his conviction, but he has a month to do so.

Lawyer Justin Quill told the ABC that an appeal against the sentence is unlikely because of Queensland’s mandatory sentencing laws.

However, he said there is likely a number of grounds upon which his lawyers can appeal against the conviction.

“Those grounds could be the exclusion of particular pieces of evidence. It could be taking the judge to task on the precise wording of the charge or the answers to the questions. The answers to the questions are crucial,” he said.

GERARD Baden-Clay was visited by his parents as he spent his first day as a convicted murderer at Wolston Correctional Centre yesterday.

Nigel and Elaine Baden-Clay arrived at the jail about 2.30pm to visit their son, who sources said spent his first night alone inside the prison’s “jelly room”.

His parents arrived with a large envelope and stayed at the jail for about an hour.

After arriving on Tuesday night, Baden-Clay would have been strip searched, given new clothes, photographed for identification, interviewed and assessed by psychologists.

COURT MOVE: The evidence Baden-Clay didn’t want jury to hear

Convicted murderer Gerard Bayden-Clay's parents Nigel and Elaine Bayden-Clay visit their

Convicted murderer Gerard Bayden-Clay’s parents Nigel and Elaine Bayden-Clay visit their son in Wolston Correctional Centre, Wacol. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

He was allowed to phone his parents where he was reportedly emotional before being placed in a cell to undergo observation, where he will be monitored by nurses and psychologists.

Baden-Clay’s prison number.

Baden-Clay’s prison number.

Baden-Clay’s prison number.

Depending on his risk level he will continue to be monitored or watched remotely by camera before his final placement at the prison, which is filled with high-profile prisoners and sex offenders.

“They usually keep them in a safe area until they can assess their state of mind,” a prison source said.

“He would be considered a risk of self-harm or harm from others, originally.

“I think you can probably understand a lot of media attention can be positive or negative in the prison community.

“Jelly room – it’s a prison term – if someone is unstable and wobbly like jelly, that’s where they go.”

Upon arrival Baden-Clay would have been given an induction booklet describing the prison’s daily schedule and information about employment and medical services.

Family shares heartbreak of Allison’s loss 3:01

He would be entitled to work in the prison and receive a small daily wage of between $4.50 and $7.50 per day.

Jobs in jails include laundry, timber, metal, textiles, assembly and packing, painting and powder-coating work.

“Prisoners have the potential to earn up to $52.50 per week for work in a range of prisoner industries or other roles, such as cleaning prisoner common areas,” a Queensland Corrective Services statement said.

“Prisoners may purchase a small range of approved items from the prisoner canteen, including magazines and newspapers, food items, clothing and toiletries.”

Prison meals are generally served from about 4.30pm and morning headcount is conducted at about 6.45am.

Baden-Clay’s small cell would have a single bed, sink, toilet, shower and TV


The public’s fascination with Baden-Clay 1:56

The murder of Allison Baden-Clay reveals a sordid tale with young lives left in tatters.

“They don’t wear their own clothes, there are a lot of limits,” the official said.

“It’s a fairly austere life at the best of times.”

The Baden-Clay family gathered at the family home at Kenmore yesterday and were visited by defence solicitor Peter Shields.

“I won’t be making any comment. It’s difficult for everyone but I won’t be making any comment and neither will the family,” Mr Shields said.

“No I won’t be (saying how they’re feeling). I think sometimes some things just call for a dignified silence.” reporter

Police suspected Gerard Baden-Clay murdered his wife “very early in the piece” while Allison’s family will “grieve her tragic death forever”.

The murder trial of Gerard Baden-Clay may have never heard from the convicted killer if a ruling at a critical point of the case went the other way.

The seven men and five women of the jury were unaware Mr Baden-Clay’s defence team tried to have the murder charge against the former real estate dismissed the day before he stepped into the witness box.

But we were

The application could have changed the entire course of the trial.

The jury was also unaware that Mr Baden-Clay, a former prestige Brisbane real estate agent, secretly sold the Gold Coast home he owned with his wife to fund his legal battle from his prison cell.

The prosecution spoke of Mr Baden-Clay’s behaviour in the days and weeks after his wife’s disappearance, but could not speak of his time behind bars so as not to prejudice the jury.

Evidence heard during his failed bail application and his pre-trial hearing was also withheld from the jury at the trial.

The jury heard the Baden-Clays purchased a Paradise Point investment property.

But, it was not told that Mr Baden-Clay arranged, from his prison cell in the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, for the investment property to be sold three months after being arrested for his wife’s murder.

The jury was also unaware Mr Baden-Clay remained in custody for the duration of the trial, having been deemed too great a flight risk and denied bail by the Supreme Court in 2012.

The Baden-Clays’ beach shack on Abalone Avenue was owned by the couple’s company World of Top Step Pty Ltd, of which Mr and Mrs Baden-Clay were both directors.

Mr Baden-Clay also applied, from his prison cell, to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to have his late wife removed as director and secretary of WOTS. what a loving grieving husband, protecting his few dollars

The sale was revealed in Supreme Court documents relating to the control of Mrs Baden-Clay’s estate in September 2012.

Her father Geoff Dickie was awarded interim control of his late daughter’s estate in 2012, after arguing her assets should not be sold off or proceeds divided before her husband faced trial.

The grieving father, who with his wife is now caring for his three granddaughters, said he did not know the full value of his daughter’s estate.

“I did not know the full extent of the assets and liabilities of the estate because most documents relating to Allison’s financial affairs are held by the police,” he said in his affidavit.

Mrs Baden-Clay’s will was made in 1997, just before her marriage to Mr Baden-Clay and before she had any children.

In it she lists her future husband as the sole executor and benefactor of her will and appoints Mr Dickie as the executor if Mr Baden-Clay could not fulfil the obligations.

Mr Dickie will have to re-apply to take control of his daughter’s estate, although Mr Baden-Clay has been found guilty of her murder. amazing isn’t it?

The jury was also unaware of additional evidence raised in Mr Baden-Clay’s bail application relating to the forensic examination of his mobile phone, which his defence team successfully explained away.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller, QC, described Mr Baden-Clay’s mobile phone as his “lifeblood’’ given he was a real estate agent.

Two days before reporting his wife missing, Mr Baden-Clay Googled “taking the fifth” at 10.08pm.

Police alleged the search led to results including “self incrimination”, which he accessed through Wikipedia.

The trial heard Mr Baden-Clay watched a television program with his parents on the night of April 18, 2012, after he and his wife returned from taking a drive to the Mt Coot-tha lookout to discuss his infidelity.

The court was not told that program was The Good Wife on Channel 10.

Mr Baden-Clay claimed he searched the web for the American legal term to help explain it to his mother.

Indeed, police were able to verify that that night’s episode of The Good Wife made numerous references to the term.

Police said the forensic examination of Mr Baden-Clay’s phone showed he Googled “self incrimination” on April 20, just minutes before he dialled triple-0 to report his wife missing. He only accessed the page for three seconds.

Mr Baden-Clay said he did not search the internet for the term, but rather the web-page from his previous search “simply reloaded”. yeah we believe that

Similarly, the initial forensic examination showing Mr Baden-Clay made a FaceTime call to his father about 12.30am on April 20 was found to be incorrect.

Mr Baden-Clay’s pre-trial hearing heard police investigators realised Mr Baden-Clay’s iPhone 3GS was not capable with making FaceTime calls.

”There was a false positive in the tests,” police computer analyst Neil Robertson said.

The jury was privy to the evidence, but not the legal argument when Justice John Byrne aired his concerns about the defence case during the trial.

Once the Crown closed its case against the accused on the 10th day of the trial, Mr Baden-Clay’s defence team lodged an application for the murder charge to be dismissed.

Barrister Michael Copley, QC, made the application for “no case to answer for murder” on behalf of Mr Baden-Clay, saying evidence of a struggle between the accused and his wife did not confirm she was “fighting for her life”.

Justice Byrne said he had three concerns about drawing such conclusions, although he was careful to couch his responses in hypothetical terms.

“She was involved in a physical altercation with him. She did not survive that. Why is it not in all the circumstances open to the jury to infer that she did not survive it, because he proceeded with his intention to kill her?” he asked.

Mr Copley said: “Because … all the evidence goes to show is that there was an argument, there was arguably a fight, she responded physically towards him, and she is dead. That is all the evidence shows.” this was on the 10th day of the trial folks, I was furious not being able to share this

Justice Byrne replied: “But what if what happens is this: after she scratched him, she fell forward bumped her head and died of a cerebral haemorrhage, I mean, his conduct afterwards looks pretty odd.

“On the Crown hypothesis, he deals with her body in the most undignified fashion, going to some trouble to hide it.

“If all that has been is an altercation of not much substance that happened to go wrong … why would he not have immediately called an ambulance?”

Justice Byrne noted there was no evidence to suggest Mrs Baden-Clay had fallen and hit her head on bricks or cement. She suffered no significant head injuries and no bone fractures, according to the report of forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne.

“What he did involved disposing of the body in an undignified way … and he then engages in serious subterfuge,” he said. our learned Judge was on the ball

Justice Byrne said the injuries on Mr Baden-Clay’s face were more consistent with fingernail scratches, on the evidence from forensic experts. Mr Baden-Clay maintained the injuries were shaving cuts.

“He lies about the scratches and does more than that, he uses the razor blade to create the appearance some hours later of scratches on the face in that area,” he said.

“He then lies to the police about these things and maintains the deception.

“Why wouldn’t the jury say, given a moment of panic … all that happened thereafter is inexplicable.”

Justice Byrne turned his attention to the pressures in Mr Baden-Clay’s life at the time of his wife’s disappearance – his ongoing affair with his long-time mistress Toni McHugh and the financial stress relating to his real estate business.

The court had heard Ms McHugh and Mrs Baden-Clay were due to come face-to-face for the first time at a real estate conference on the same day Mr Baden-Clay reported his wife missing, April 20, 2012.

“All in all he had every reason to be under the severe strain that may have caused him in anger and resentment to engage in violence that resulted in her death,” Justice Byrne said.

“But the critical question for the present is whether the post-offence conduct … and the prolonged nature of the deception that followed could justify the inference to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm.

“Not merely, for example, a panic reaction to an unintended and an unwished-for death.

“In this context, it’s necessary to bear in mind that there was a deal of post-death conduct engaged in; lies to the police about the facial scratches, as well as the children and family members. In all probability, lies about having been asleep that night and about his wife having left the bed at some stage during the evening.

“In my opinion, given all the circumstances, its open to the jury to be satisfied that the only reasonable inference on all the evidence is that the accused not only unlawfully killed his wife, but killed her intending to cause her death.”

Justice Byrne dismissed the application, allowing the trial to continue.

Had the application been successful, Mr Baden-Clay would have only had to answer to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Mr Baden-Clay was convicted of killing his wife at their home in the affluent western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, and dumping her body on the banks of Kholo Creek, 14 kilometres away.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 15 years without parole.

Two men arrested over insider trading, abuse of public office

Silly young blokes. university educated, obviously smart (and greedy) but have ruined their lives taking on the system. Tough luck boys.7 million dollars down the drain with your careers!

Insider trading sting: Australian Bureau of Statistics employee Christopher Russell Hill to be extradited over alleged $7m scam

Updated 2 hours 28 minutes ago

Photo: Christopher Hill is escorted by police at Canberra Airport. 

A 24-year-old Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) employee will be extradited to Victoria to face charges over an alleged $7 million insider trading scam.

Christopher Russell Hill made a brief appearance in the ACT Magistrates Court this morning, where he was refused bail.

The statistician is accused of sharing unpublished ABS data with friend Lukas Kamay, an NAB employee in Melbourne, to predict movements in the Australian dollar.

The charges laid by ASIC and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) include insider trading, money laundering and abuse of public office.

Authorities allege Kamay pocketed the majority of the $7 million windfall, while Hill allegedly made $60,000.

The court heard that Hill wrote the ABS data on a notepad to avoid electronic detection systems.

He is alleged to have shared the information with Kamay via phones the pair had bought under false names.

Authorities say they began investigating after being alerted to “suspicious activity” on the foreign exchange market between August last year and May this year.

Kamay faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon on seven charges and was released on bail.

However, Magistrate Bernadette Boss refused Hill’s application for bail on Saturday, accepting prosecution arguments that he may be tempted to abscond.

Photo: Former NAB employee Lukas Kamay after he was charged over insider trading yesterday.

The court also heard Hill lives with another ABS employee. Magistrate Boss agreed with prosecutors that there was a likelihood the defendant may attempt to interfere with evidence.

The prosecution said they have a strong case against Hill, who is likely to spend time in jail if convicted.

The court heard three of the four charges against Hill attract a penalty of up to 10 years’ jail, while the fourth attracts a prison term of up to five years.

He has been with the ABS for about three years.

Charges come after AFP raids homes

The AFP obtained eight warrants to search the NAB in Melbourne and the ABS in Canberra, as well as private homes in both cities.

They seized a property, a motor vehicle and funds totalling about $7 million.

Police also allege they found $9,950 cash hidden in a wardrobe at Hill’s Belconnen property.

The NAB says it has terminated Kamay’s employment while the ABS has suspended Hill, whom it describes as “a relatively junior officer with trusted access” to information.

The two men attended Melbourne’s Monash University together and police say it was during that time they struck up a friendship.

In an internal memo obtained by the ABC, the ABS told staff it is the first time ever that a staff member has been arrested for leaking data.

“Even though this is the first time in our history of more than 100 years that a staff member has been arrested for leaking statistics, it has the potential to tarnish our reputation as a trusted custodian of sensitive data,” the memo said.

“We will undertake a thorough review to learn what we can from this incident. Fortunately, the police believe that no other ABS staff were involved.”

The Australian Shareholders Association says investors should have confidence in the financial regulatory system.

Spokesman Stephen Mayne told AM the allegations are startling but there are strong signs the system is working.

“It’s reassuring, if you believe the press reports, that the broker involved referred the trades to the authorities and the alleged crimes have been detected,” he said.

“But it’s certainly stunning in terms of the level of detail of the allegations being made by federal police and ASIC.”

ASIC will not specify how it became aware of the transactions, but says there are a range of ways it can be alerted to insider trading, including complaints, tip-offs and surveillance.

The men have been arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for offences relating to insider trading after police seized $7 million in alleged proceeds of crime.

They were arrested under a joint major operation by the AFP and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) into suspicious trading in the foreign exchange derivatives market.

Insider trading sting: $7m in assets seized as NAB employee, Bureau of Statistics officer arrested over currency deals

Two men in their twenties who worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the National Australia Bank have been charged with insider trading on foreign currency markets.

Former NAB employee Lukas Kamay has been charged over insider trading.

Former NAB employee Lukas Kamay has been charged over insider trading.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleges 26-year-old former NAB employee Lukas Kamay, based in Melbourne, used unpublished unemployment, retail and trade data obtained through the ABS officer to trade in foreign exchange derivatives.

Police allege Mr Kamay paid friend Christopher Russell Hill between $50,000 and $60,000 to persuade him to provide information related to confidential statistics held by the ABS.

“In effect, he utilised sensitive ABS information to predict the fluctuations in the Australian dollar,” AFP spokesman Ian McCartney said.

The two men attended university together and police say it was during that time they struck up a friendship.

Authorities will allege Kamay pocketed the majority of the $7 million windfall and will not specify how the pair communicated, although they say it was “regular” but “varied”.

Authorities say they began investigating after being alerted to “suspicious activity” on the foreign exchange market between August last year and May this year.

ASIC will not specify how it became aware of the transactions, but says there are a range of ways it can be alerted to insider trading, including complaints, tip-offs and surveillance.

The AFP obtained eight warrants to search the NAB in Melbourne and the ABS in Canberra as well as private homes in both cities.

They seized a property, a motor vehicle and funds totalling around $7 million earlier today.

Kamay appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court today charged with insider trading, corruption of a public official, and money laundering.

Police say he was operating independently of his employer and did not use any of the bank’s systems to carry out his alleged crimes. He has since been sacked from his job with the bank.

The 24-year-old ABS employee will be charged with insider trading, receiving a corrupt benefit, release of sensitive information and abuse of public office.

“This has been a complex investigation” Mr McCartney said.

Chris Savundra from the corporate regulator ASIC says the Australian dollar is one of the most actively traded currencies on the global foreign exchange market.

“The alleged conduct has the potential to undermine confidence in the integrity of the foreign exchange market and disadvantage those that participate in the market without that inside information,” he said.

The AFP says both the NAB and ABS co-operated with their investigation.


Millionaire businessman Michael Issakidis accused of $67 tax scam gets bail BUT

I just love it when they catch the big fish cheating the system

UPDATE 03/05/12

Businessman posts $1.5m bail but authorities hold onto $40m assets

May 3, 2012

Businessman Michael John Issakidis posts $1.5m bail but authorities hold onto $40m assets

A MILLIONAIRE businessman charged over a $63 million tax evasion and money laundering scheme has been allowed to return to his Gold Coast mansion after posting bail of $1.5 million.

But more than $40 million in luxury assets, including houses, cars and yachts owned by Michael John Issakidis, 67, and an associate will remain in the hands of the authorities after being seized in raids last month.

The Australian Federal Police and Australian Tax Officesay the seven-month investigation into Mr Issakidis is the largest under Project Wickenby, the federal government’s pursuit of wealthy alleged tax evaders.

Prime real estate in Sydney and on the Gold Coast as well as several Rolls-Royces, a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin, a Mercedes-Benz and yachts have been seized under the new federal proceeds of crime laws, the AFP said.

Mr Issakidis faced Central Local Court last week charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime of more than $1 million and conspiring to cause loss to the Tax Office.

Magistrate Antony Townsden granted him bail on the condition he live at his Paradise Point home on a $1 million bail. Rhonda Laraine Issakidis and Nance Beverley Toope also agreed to each post $250,000 with the court.

Earlier this year, Mr Issakidis sued ”Baby” John Burgess for $30,000 in unpaid rent the former TV host owed on his sub-penthouse in the Gold Coast’s Q1 building.

Greek-born Mr Issakidis is the managing director of NeuMedix Health Group, a group of investment and health technology companies.

His bail conditions prevent him from contacting NeuMedix’s co-founder and director Anthony James Dickson.

NeuMedix is involved in a program at Griffith University’s botanical medicine for population health, which is developing herbal medicine to treat dengue fever.

Wickenby investigators allege from 2006 Mr Issakidis, through a complex unit trust structure, over-inflated the prices of Australian patents once they were transferred offshore and claimed corresponding depreciation expenses of $63 million.

They further allege these funds were laundered through an account in Britain and accounts in Hong Kong before being transferred back into Australia.

Mr Issakidis will reappear in the Downing Centre Local Court on August 7.

A MILLIONAIRE Gold Coast businessman accused of a $67 million money laundering and tax evasion scam has been denied bail, despite offering to be put under house arrest and pay a $250,000 surety.

Michael Issakidis

Michael Issakidis, 67, faced Southport Magistrates Court on the Gold Coast today after being arrested by federal agents at his waterfront mansion on Tuesday.

His assets including his home and four Rolls-Royces have been seized and he was barefoot and in handcuffs when he appeared in the dock.

Commonwealth prosecutor Kylie Ward opposed bail, saying Mr Issakidis was a significant flight risk.

Ms Ward said while ‘significant’ assets had been frozen, Issakidis still had access to $11 million in unaccounted funds.

Defence lawyer Peter Shields said his client was willing to abide by strict conditions if he was granted bail to answer the charges in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court next Tuesday.

These included paying a $250,000 surety, reporting twice a week to police and not reapplying for his passport.

“He is willing to stay almost under house arrest,” Mr Shields said.

He said Mr Issakidis had been in a committed relationship since 1971 and had substantial ties to the Gold Coast.

However, magistrate Gary Finger said the charges facing Mr Issakidis were “serious” and involved “a serious amount of money”.

He refused bail and remanded the businessman in the custody of an Australian Federal Police officer for extradition to Sydney.


April 24, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: POLICE and tax office investigators today seized more than $40 million in luxury assets linked to prominent businessman Michael Issakidis and one of his associates.

Baby John Burgess at Ian Turpie’s recent funeral in Sydney’s North Ryde. Picture: Gary Graham PerthNow

They allege the arrest of the Greek-born property developer and company director has dismantled a multi-million-dollar tax evasion and money laundering scheme.

Mr Issakidis was recently in the news for successfully suing friend and Wheel of Fortune game show host Baby John Burgess for rent he claimed Burgess owed him for living in his 71st-floor Gold Coast penthouse.

Burgess and his wife Jan were regulars on the Gold Coast social scene with Mr Issakidis and his wife Donrecka before a court ordered Burgess to pay Mr Issakidis more than $30,000 in back rent and costs.

Mr Issakidis, 67, was today charged with conspiring to deal in proceeds of crime worth $63 million and defrauding the Australian Tax Office of tens of millions of dollars. The proceeds of crime charge relates to the tax fraud.

Prestigious vehicles grabbed from Mr Issakidis and an associate during today’s joint AFP and ATO raids in Queensland and New South Wales included four Rolls-Royces, a Lamborghini Spyder, an Aston Martin, a BMW and a Mercedes.

Also seized were a waterfront mansion on the Gold Coast, a luxury Sydney property in Northbridge and two yachts.

The AFP and the ATO conducted six search warrants in NSW and Queensland today as part of the continuing Issakidis investigation in Australia and overseas.

Further arrests relating to the alleged money laundering scam are possible.

Today’s raids followed a seven-month joint AFP and ATO Project Wickenby investigation and is the largest tax fraud probe since Wickenby was launched in 2006.

Project Wickenby involves the ATO, AFP, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Government Solicitor, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The proceeds of crime action was undertaken by the Commonwealth criminal assets confiscation Taskforce. The AFP-led taskforce brings together resources from the AFP, ATO and the ACC.

This is the first time the AFP has conducted the litigation to restrain assets on behalf of the taskforce since legislation came into effect in January this year giving the AFP the power to commence and conduct proceeds of crime litigation. Mr Issakidis is the managing director of Queensland-based NeuMedix Health Group, a consortium of 16 investment and technology companies.

It will be alleged in court that through a complex unit trust structure, prices of Australian patents were over inflated once transferred offshore.

Corresponding depreciation expenses were then claimed and, as a result, a benefit of about $63 million was received over a three year period.

It will be further alleged these funds were then laundered through an account in the UK – and numerous accounts in Hong Kong – before being transferred back into Australia.

The scheme was identified by the ATO Trust taskforce, which was established to focus on arrangements to exploit perceived weaknesses in tax legislation for trusts.

ATO Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo today claimed the operation uncovered a serious abuse of the integrity of the tax system and serious tax evasion involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Parties who rely on tax driven deals to justify the commercial viability of business transactions are on notice that we will use our anti-avoidance rules to deal with such schemes,” he said.

“The ATO will pursue all means available, including partnering with other law enforcement agencies, to respond firmly to these tax avoidance and evasion behaviours and protect the public revenue.”

AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said the operation combined the specialist skills of the AFP and the ATO to disrupt a complex money laundering scheme.

“Taking the profit out of crime is the aim of the criminal assets confiscation taskforce, which is targeting organised crime’s deep pockets,” he said today.

“This operation demonstrates the ongoing commitment by the AFP and its partner agencies to disrupt serious criminal activity.”

The Federal Government today congratulated the AFP on the seizure of around $40 million in assets believed to be the proceeds of crime generated through an elaborate tax evasion and money laundering scheme.

Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare said today’s seizure was the result of a seven month joint operation – Operation Beaufighter – between the Australian Federal Police and the ATO.

“Organised crime is driven by money. Take away their money and assets and it reduces the incentive to commit crimes,” Mr Clare said.

“The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce was set up in January last year to target the profits criminals make.

“Just like with Al Capone – you can catch criminals by following the money.”

This is the first time the Australian Federal Police has conducted litigation to restrain assets on behalf of the Taskforce since the legislation came into effect in January this year giving the AFP powers to commence and conduct proceeds of crime litigation.

Assistant Treasurer David  Bradbury said the Operation was undertaken as part of Project Wickenby.

“Project Wickenby is successfully cracking down on the use of tax havens by those trying to cheat the system,” said Mr Bradbury.

“The establishment of the Taskforce has contributed significantly to the identification and restraint of proceeds of crime with approximately $70 million in assets restrained as a result of Taskforce investigations so far this financial year.

“This operation is the result of agencies working together to make Australia a hostile place for money laundering and large-scale tax avoidance and evasion.”

Project Wickenby brings together resources from the ATO, AFP, ACC, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Government Solicitor and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and AUSTRAC with an ongoing commitment by these partners to make Australia unattractive for large scale tax evasion and avoidance and money laundering.

Mr Issakidis was expected to appear in Queensland’s Southport Magistrates’ Court today to face charges of:

Conspiracy to deal in the proceeds of crime of $1 million or more, contrary to Sections 400.3(1) and 11.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 – which carries a maximum jail term of 25 years.

Conspiracy to dishonestly cause a loss to a third person, namely the Australian Taxation Office, contrary to Sections 135.4(3) and 11.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 – which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years.

NeuMedix Directors

Michael Issakidis

Michael Issakidis is the Group Managing Director for NeuMedix. A consummate statesman and pragmatist, Michael’s legal background coupled with many years of property developments provide the group with a tempered prudence when accessing opportunities.

With several successful ventures including the Cairns International Hotel, Australian Scenic Tours, a motel chain in Victoria and NSW, as well as many commercial and residential developments. Michael has established an enviable eye for potential and profit. He began his career as a Lawyer in 1968 establishing a practice with a distinct preference for contentious and adversarial matters. With the belief that a man is at his best when challenged, Michael will dissect the dilemma and strategise until a positive path forward prevails.

NeuMedix has taken an equity position in various innovative biotechnologies and inventions. Michael works closely with the scientists and inventors to ensure the integrity of the technology is not compromised. Through his network of professionals and colleagues he provides unprecedented exposure for our innovators to meet industry leaders and influencers.

Michael is an avid golfer, art collector and exotic car enthusiast. He graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1965 and a Bachelor of Laws Degree in 1968.



Can you believe this scandal is getting even deeper day by day.These greedy pigs have been feasting on members funds for years. Williamson had a secret Amex card called The black Centurion card.

American Express describes Centurion members as ”super-affluent high net worth individuals on a continual quest for the best and most exclusive”. The annual fee for the privilege is $4300.

Then there are the highly paid jobs for mates, shonky contracts for union work that go without tendering, massive Secretarial Services worth over $400,000 being paid to a Williamson family company. Another family getting $640,000 a year to print the bloody union newsletter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bloody hell what else are we going to find out?

These bastards need to be shown the door IMMEDIATELY and charges need to be laid so assets and records can be frozen to stop these criminals getting rid of evidence. The rorts have gone on long enough and this piss weak Labor mob need to clean up their act. Not continue to have 3 year-long investigations, countless committees and other smokescreens set up to minimise voter backlash and do what is right.

UPDATE 07/05/12

UPDATE: THE Gillard Government is in a fresh crisis after the industrial umpire found Labor MP Craig Thomson was guilty of illegally spending $6,008 on prostitutes.

In a scathing 1,100 page report, Fair Work Australia found Mr Thomson used Health Services Union funds to spend lavishly – more than $70,000 – on restaurant meals, hotels, air travel for his wife and other personal items.

He was also found to have spent $103,338.70 on cash advances.

Union officials said they were “stunned” to find Thomson was even able to take cash out on the cards, according to the Fair Work Australia report.

Now the MP – who was only cut loose by Prime Minister Julia Gillard nine days ago – faces potential fines totalling more than $100,000 for breaching workplace laws on 156 separate occasions.

Both Victoria and New South Wales police are now reviewing the FWA report.

The report detailed how Mr Thomson used a two union credit cards to pay for escort services from five-star hotel rooms.

Mr Thomson was also found to have breached industrial laws by spending $71,300.23 of union funds to help his personal campaign for the 2007 federal election when he won the NSW seat of Dobell.

He spent $18,731 on radio advertising, and $13,468.78 on printing costs, as well as fitting out an office and a campaign bus for his election campaign.

He claimed work-related expenses for a trip to London, which he visited during a holiday in Austria and Italy.

Cash advances on his union credit card totalled $103,338.70 between 2002 and 2007. He told a staff member to record the transaction in the union’s MYOB system without providing written receipts.

Read the statement from Fair Work Australia here

Ruling ramps up pressure on Craig Thomson

Mr Thomson was even claiming money on his union credit card after he resigned, including airfares, car hire, dinners, valet parking, and newspaper subscriptions.

When asked about his cash advances, Mr Thomson said it was more convenient to pay cash than use his credit card for restaurant meals and keep receipts.

“Maybe ‘habit’ is not the right word, but there was no issue as to – it didn’t matter how the expenditure took place,” he said in the report.

But Mr Thomson said last night that the report was a “joke” as he protested his innocence.

“The report is based on allegations – and that is all they are – (which) have not been tested by a court,” he said.

“These assertions are not based on proper evidence,” he said.

UPDATE 03/05/12

THE union boss Michael Williamson may face criminal charges after allegedly being caught trying to smuggle documents out of the Health Services Union headquarters during the middle of a police raid.

Detectives from Strike Force Carnarvon, which has been investigating allegations of corruption within the HSU East branch for eight months, executed a search warrant on the union’s Pitt Street headquarters shortly after 9am yesterday.

As police were seizing computers and documents from the union’s second floor offices, other officers are understood to have intercepted Mr Williamson and his son Chris in the underground car park.

Mr Williamson, who is on leave with full pay, and his son, a union employee, had a large black suitcase containing documents which they were allegedly putting into the back of a car.

The confiscated suitcase, along with dozens of boxes of documents, was loaded into a police truck when detectives finished their search about 3pm.

Detective Superintendent Col Dyson, commander of the fraud and cyber crime squad, confirmed that an HSU official had been intercepted in the car park but he would not confirm the person’s identity.

”I have major concerns, however, efforts have been made to interfere with information relevant to our investigation,” the commander said. ”I won’t go into that with any more detail, only that I have concerns that information relevant to the case may have been tampered with.”

Superintendent Dyson said later that police became aware ”that some information we were

seeking had been removed”. He foreshadowed possible criminal charges over the alleged hindering of the police investigation.

Police are also investigating claims that Mr Williamson was tipped off about the raid. His Maroubra neighbours told the Herald that the union boss, with his suitcase, was collected by his son Chris just after 8am yesterday. The cops didn’t raid the office until just after 9am…How did he know they were going in there, and he needed to rush in and beat them there to steal a suitcase packed with incriminating documents? This thief needs to be locked up and lose all ill gained assets, just like any other low life crim, druggie etc

UPDATE-2  02/05/12 Strike Force Carnarvon reveal they have been investigating HSU right back to the mid 1990’s…That is great news for criminals among them…

Mr Williamson busted at his car trying to remove sack of documents from HSU headquarters this morning…may be charged

UNION boss Michael Williamson has allegedly been caught attempting to take a bag of documents out of the Health Services Union offices in Sydney during a police raid.

Raid … police outside the HSU offices in Sydney this morning

Detectives from Strike Force Carnarvon raided the premises this morning as part of their investigation into alleged corruption in the HSU.

The head of the fraud squad, Detective Superintendent Colin Dyson, confirmed police were considering charging someone with attempting to hinder the investigation by removing information.

The Daily Telegraph understands that person is Mr Williamson. The documents he attempted to remove were seized by police. Sucked in your sneaky bastard…

“One has major concerns that efforts have been made to interfere with information relevant to our investigation,” Detective Dyson said.

“I don’t dismiss the possibility of criminal charges arising from those efforts.

“A bag of documents was intercepted this morning.” Not hard to work out why he has refused to cooperate with ALL Investigations.This bloke is up his eyeballs in it. Cronyism and a free for all for family and friends and he has been doing it untroubled for years…

UPDATE-1  02/05/12

NSW Police raid the Pitt St offices of the Health Services Union this morning

POLICE from Strike Force Carnarvon have raided the Health Services Union offices in Sydney as part of their investigation into union boss Michael Williamson and Federal MP Craig Thomson.

The detectives entered just before 9am.

They were investigating claims Mr Williamson and Mr Thomson received American Express cards as a secret commission from a printing firm Communigraphix.

They were also investigating claims union architects carried out works on Mr Williamson’s home and that Mr Williamson’s computing firm received generous contracts from the union.

Mr Williamson and Mr Thomson deny any wrongdoing.

The raids this morning follow previous raids on the home of Communiraphix owner, John Gilliland.


FIVE companies, some associated with the Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson, received more than $17 million over a four-year period, a scathing report into the union’s procurement process has found.

Ian Temby, QC, and accountant Dennis Robertson were hired by the union to conduct an independent investigation into allegations raised by the Fairfax media last September of cronyism and corruption within the HSU East branch.

The pair wanted their interim report on procurement processes to be released immediately because of the millions of dollars the union is spending each year without going to tender or even obtaining price comparisons.

In his 40 years of auditing, Mr Robertson said, he had rarely seen such poor internal controls in an organisation. The way the union was now operating left it open to the possibility of abuse by ”either suppliers or members of procurement staff or both, including cosy or frankly illegal practices”, the report said.

It reveals that United Edge, an IT company part-owned by Mr Williamson, received $1.3 million a year from April 2008 to September last year.

It is understood United Edge and its staff of five still operate the IT business rent-free from HSU headquarters.

Communigraphix, the company at the centre of separate allegations it provided kickbacks in the form of credit cards to Mr Williamson and then HSU general secretary Craig Thomson, is revealed to have received $3.44 million from the union between March 2007 and September 2011. Mr Thomson, who denies any wrongdoing, is not mentioned in the interim report.

The architectural firm Mr Williamson used to renovate his home and holiday house was paid $3.7 million by the union from March 2007 to September 2011. Access Focus, which Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show changed its name to Aurio Services a decade ago, received more than $5 million from October 2007 to September 2011. Run by a friend of the HSU’s procurement officer, Access Focus does consultancy work and provides the union memorabilia.

Canme, which is run by Mr Williamson’s wife, Julianne, received $384,625 for archiving and secretarial services between December 2005 and June 2009.

Mr Temby noted that neither Mr nor Mrs Williamson co-operated with his investigation, although they provided written statements through lawyers. Mr Williamson has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Prices paid for some of these services exceeded the market value, ”sometimes by a large margin”, the report said. It was essential to remedy this situation as soon as possible as the HSU was leaving itself open to ”risks of unauthorised acquisitions, duplicate payments, excess prices and fraud”.

Mr Temby said there was also poor control over union-issued credit cards and that charges were running at $600,000 a year. ($11500 A WEEK OR 1640 EVERY SINGLE DAY)

HSU East said it welcomed the release of the interim report and would review it and report back to members.

Mr Williamson has been spending up to $30,000 a month – largely on dining and other lifestyle expenses – on the card.

THE corruption inquiries into the Health Services Union are set to widen with allegations that the boss, Michael Williamson, had another secret American Express card.

The black Centurion card, which he has had for several years, is a secondary one attached to the private account of his close personal friend Cheryl McMillan, the purchasing officer.

Mr Williamson has been spending up to $30,000 a month – largely on dining and other lifestyle expenses – on the card.

American Express describes Centurion members as ”super-affluent high net worth individuals on a continual quest for the best and most exclusive”. The annual fee for the privilege is $4300.

Allegations of inappropriate conduct continue to dog Labor MP Craig Thomson.

Last September it was revealed that Mr Williamson and the former general secretary Craig Thomson, now a federal Labor MP, received kickbacks from a union supplier by way of American Express cards. Both have denied the allegations.

When asked about the card yesterday, Ms McMillan said: ”I have nothing to say to you” and hung up.

Later, through her solicitor Simon Konstantinidis, she denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Konstantinidis said his client was a 60-year-old grandmother who worked two days a week at the union. He said she paid her own credit card bills and had no knowledge of any kickbacks in relation to the union and any of its suppliers.

Ms McMillan’s salary, sources say, would be insufficient to pay the amounts Mr Williamson, 58, has been incurring on the second card. The mystery remains as to who has been paying it.

Mr Konstantinidis is also representing a Palm Beach printer, John Gilleland, 65, and his wife Carron, who are alleged to have given Mr Thomson and Mr Williamson American Express cards while receiving $640,000 a year to produce the union’s newsletter.

The Gillelands, whose house was raided by officers from Strike Force Carnarvon in February, have denied any wrongdoing. Mr Konstantinidis said Ms McMillan had recently been spoken to by detectives and had answered questions put to her by Ian Temby, QC.

The union appointed Mr Temby, the former head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, to review its tender, recruitment and expenditure processes and the use of corporate credit cards.

Mr Williamson, who has declined to assist Mr Temby, has been seen regularly at the union headquarters. An insider said that despite being on ”personal leave” since October, Mr Williamson had been in de facto control of the union. He also said Mr Williamson’s brother Darren, a highly paid HSU official, remained his ”eyes and ears” when he was not in the office.

It is understood Mr Temby’s investigations have uncovered that a Williamson family company Canme (the initials of the names of his five children) received more than $400,000 from the HSU for ”secretarial services”.

Questions have also been raised about another supplier, Alf Downing, whose company supplies union paraphernalia. Mr Downing, 68, confirmed he had never had to submit a tender to supply such services.

A union insider said that several years ago at a Christmas function Mr Downing said he inflated union invoices and then made ”donations back”. But Mr Downing said such allegations were ”a load of rubbish”.

”I don’t give backhanders because I don’t make enough money,” he said yesterday.

Mr Downing’s company, Access Focus, which Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show changed its name to Aurio Services a decade ago, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the HSU. Union officials have previously said they were never sure what Access Focus did.

Industry Minister Greg Combet said today that the behaviour of some Health Services Union (HSU) officials was unacceptable and not in line with Labor or union values.

Making his first comments on the HSU scandal since the completion of two Fair Work Australia investigation reports, Mr Combet went further in his criticism than Prime Minister Julia Gillard or Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten.

Greg Willettt, the sports agent who cheated mates out of millions

Greg Willett, has a bit of shonky form on the board going back years

HE’S one of the country’s top sports agents, with NRL stars Braith Anasta, Luke Lewis and Craig Gower among his stable of stars.

But a Supreme Court judge has found Greg Willett cheated two of his off-field clients – one an old school friend, the other a quadriplegic – out of millions of dollars.

In a devastating judgment on Willett’s business dealings, Justice Michael Pembroke said he had been dishonest, misleading and deceptive.

Willett was yesterday ordered to pay the two men, diver John Sullivan and fisherman Clyde Thomas, a total of $3.6 million compensation plus compounding interest, which is expected to increase the amount to over $8 million.

He must also pay the entire legal bill for the five-week civil trial, estimated to be at least another $1 million.

The court heard that Willett’s assets, including real estate, were held in his wife Debra’s name. She recently sold their $4 million Burraneer waterfront mansion near Cronulla, with “hundreds of thousands of dollars” going towards their own legal bills.

Willett, 59, is considering appealing against the judgment.

Justice Pembroke said that his actions were a case of subterfuge and double dealing.

The saga began after Mr Thomas, 57, received $5 million compensation for a 1989 car crash that left him a quadriplegic. He had grown up with Mr Sullivan, 58, and Willett in Cronulla and he and Mr Sullivan had worked as deep sea divers on oil rigs around the world.

The two men were close friends and Willett, an accountant, did Mr Sullivan’s tax returns.

While Mr Sullivan trusted him and even went to his wedding, Willett privately regarded him with disdain, the judge said.

“Sul is nothing but a dumb arse diver. He’s got brain damage from diving,” Willett allegedly said in front of his former secretary, who recounted the statement in court.

In 1998 Willett set up a company Softsand Design Investments Pty Ltd (SSDI) for Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan’s investments. It soon bought five Cronulla properties with Mr Thomas’ money.

Two years later the company invested about $2 million in sporting, surfing and skateboarding clothing company SMP, which sponsored some of Willett’s rugby league clients.

Willett predicted that it would become as big as Billabong.

But he did not tell Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan he owned half of SSDI, using it to pay personal expenses for himself and his wife and its bank account for deposits and payments to some of his clients, while asking Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan to pay off overdrafts.

“Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan were neither financially astute nor well educated and have now lost their monies,” Justice Pembroke said.

“To persons like [them], Mr Willett would have exhibited all of the superficial trappings of material success.

“[He] sought to take advantage of them for his own benefit.” He rejected Willett’s argument that he had no fiduciary duty to the two men, saying: “He took advantage of them and abused their trust and confidence. His conduct was duplicitous.”

A Gallery of some of the players and friends he has cheated

Check this article out from 2005 from the Sydney Morning Herald….reaks of shady character, nothing has changed

Players in hot pursuit of their agent of misfortune

September 17, 2005

He boasted he sealed his deals with a handshake, but some of Greg Willett’s clients are demanding: show me my money. Jacquelin Magnay and Kate McClymont investigate.

One of the National Rugby League‘s leading player agents, Greg Willett, asked business associates to lie to the National Crime Authority to protect his client, an organised crime figure who was under investigation for money laundering.

On top of that, he has had complaints about him referred to the Department of Fair Trading and is being questioned by the league stars Willie Mason and Greg Bird for an explanation as to where their money has gone.

Willett claims to be the star witness for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in an inquiry into the former Bulldogs chief Gary McIntyre. The Herald has also obtained documents showing Willett’s Cronulla accountancy firm has set up offshore bank accounts for prominent clients.

Willett, 53, has a complex web of clients, including two prominent footballers, Craig Gower and Braith Anasta, and is the accountant to many others, including the former league player Phil Blake and Cronulla’s chief executive Steve Rogers, whom he played alongside in the Cronulla first-grade team in the 1970s.

In an interview with BRW Willett said of his management style: “I don’t even sign them to an agreement. Everything is done on a handshake.” But his informal approach to business has ruptured friendships and is causing angst in the football world.

John Sullivan, a commercial diver, and Clyde Thomas, a fisherman, were childhood mates of Willett. Thomas and Willett met at Woolooware Primary School. Years later, when Thomas became a quadriplegic as a result of a car accident, he turned to Willett to manage his multi-million-dollar compensation payout.

Thomas told the Herald that as well as investing his money in a property development company set up by Willett, in 1998 Willett persuaded him to lend $100,000 at 10 per cent interest to one of Willett’s clients. By 2002 neither the money nor the interest had been repaid.

In April of that year the crime authority was investigating Willett’s client over allegations he had been laundering drug money. Willett was called in to answer questions about the financial dealings of his client and his client’s wife.

According to Sullivan, after Willett had been interviewed by the authority, he instructed his partners to say the crime figure’s wife was on the company’s payroll. “It was a lie,” Sullivan said.

Asked to lie to the crime authority about the payments, Thomas claims he said to Willett, “Listen, I don’t know who your f—ing shonky mates are … I just want my money back.”

Thomas was not questioned by the authority. He is pursuing the crime figure over the missing funds. Thomas also claims to have lost the bulk of his payout in Willett’s investments, as has a Sydney media identity who says he lost $1.1 million in business dealings with Willett.

Willett said that until he was questioned by the crime authority, he was unaware his client “sold drugs”. Willett denied he told his former partners to lie and said he paid the crime figure’s wife $5000 a month to drive footballers around.

He says Sullivan is a disgruntled former friend who has waged a five-year battle against him. “He has made my life a living hell.”

Willett has also been caught up in a current securities and investments commission inquiry into a $200,000 payment his client Anasta received from a company connected to the ill-fated Oasis development. In 2002 the Bulldogs were stripped of their competition points after the Herald revealed they had breached a salary cap.

Willett has told securities and investments commission investigators that the money to Anasta was to play football and not to promote Oasis. However, Willett has previously stated that because other companies such as Kellogg’s and Nike were vying for Anasta’s services, “I told Canterbury: ‘If these other companies are paying for his services, you can pay him $200,000 for promotional work’.”

The Herald has obtained a letter sent from Willett to McIntyre in January 2002 that reads: “Re The Braith Anasta Contract.” The letter then sets out Anasta’s four-year contract, which starts off at $250,000 in 2002 and by 2005 was to have reached $350,000.

Crucially, the letter goes on to say, “An additional $200,000 is required up front on signing. This is to be made out to Softsand Design P/L [one of Willett’s companies] for $200,000 plus GST. This amount is reduce the four-year contract by $50,000.” There is no mention of Oasis promotions. Willett said yesterday that McIntyre initially rejected a request for an upfront $200,000 payment to buy Anasta a property because of fringe benefits tax liabilities the club would face, but McIntyre then agreed to the upfront deal.

“I don’t ask where the money is from,” Willett said yesterday.

The Herald has also obtained documents that show Willett’s firm has set up offshore bank accounts with credit card access so that clients could withdraw funds back in Australia. Two well-known Cronulla businessmen had accounts set up for them with the Standard Chartered Bank in Malaysia. “Here are the card numbers and signatures giving permission to activate the abovenamed accounts,” reads the letter from Willett’s office.

Willett told the Herald he had flown two lots of clients to Kuala Lumpur because “it was going to be a tax haven, and everyone put in five grand each”. But Willett said while the accounts were opened, no one ever used them.

The tax office said recently that it was investigating the use of offshore credit and debit cards as a vehicle for tax avoidance.

The Bulldogs player Willie Mason is concerned about the whereabouts of his funds from his 2004 tax return. Willett originally used $17,000 of Mason’s money, with other league players’ monies, as a deposit on a $5.25 million industrial site at Taren Point, which was later terminated.

This development was one of the projects of a local developer, James Bezzina. Willett is not only a great friend of Bezzina, but is the accountant of four of Bezzina’s troubled companies.

Bezzina (not to be confused with his cousin Michael Bezzina, also a property developer) is in financial strife, and 10 days ago liquidators were appointed to the JLB Group. Much to the consternation of several rugby league players, Willett had been tipping them into Bezzina projects.

Willett has reassured Mason the tax return has gone from the Bezzina project into another client’s project and his money would be available on September 30.

Macquarie Bank is pursuing Bezzina’s JLB Group and him personally for millions of dollars over the failed $60 million Mill project in Marrickville. Bezzina’s JLB also owes Cronulla Sharks $250,000, Penrith Panthers $220,000 and Manly Sea Eagles $25,000.

Bezzina also developed a large Dee Why apartment block, almost complete. Because of Bezzina’s current difficulties and the slump in real estate values, the league players Sonny Bill Williams, Chris Walker and Greg Bird pulled out of this development last month.

Bird and his manager have been chasing Willett to return Bird’s $24,000 deposit. “I thought I had given it to Reg Gibson [Willett’s solicitor] but it was sitting there in trust, rolling over until he needed it,” Willett said yesterday. Bird’s money would be available next week, he said.

The NSW Department of Fair Trading previously investigated Willett over receiving commissions and accepting deposit monies from footballers in relation to another Bezzina JLB development at Cronulla. Only licensed real estate agents are able to do this.

Willett’s football clients Anasta, Phil Blake, Luke Branighan and the rugby union player Manuel Edmonds bought into the development, which overlooks Woolooware golf course, in 2001.

A party connected to the property deal complained to the department about Willett’s receiving the deposits. Willett said he had told his clients he had billed Bezzina $10,000 for accountancy work and his clients were happy with that. “I don’t take secret commissions,” Willett said.

The complainant has been told there can be no further investigation because none of the footballers wanted to complain.

Meanwhile, the Panthers’ Craig Gower has had a rocky relationship with Willett since the Herald revealed to him he was a director of Bezzina’s company JLB Developments – now in liquidation.

Willett told Gower it was a mistake made by Bezzina. Securities and investments commission documents show Gower’s name was removed from JLB Developments. And while Bezzina was removed as a director of Gower’s company last month, the troubled property developer remains a shareholder in it.


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