The law firm Slater & Gordon and their client the Health Services Union (HSU) have a lot of questions they need to answer in relation to a $159,955 payment they made to federal politician Craig Thomson in 2010.
There is a prima facie case to say that this payment was to cover-up Craig Thomson’s fraud and theft of ripping off the HSU. It was to settle defamation proceedings and a claim for entitlements by Craig Thomson.
Slater and Gordon knew then that Mr Thomson had ripped off the union and that he should never had been paid 2 cents and let alone the $159,955 he was. (See my previous post titled “Slater and Gordon lawyers nail Craig Thomson for fraud. The real smoking gun!“)
This is relevant because Craig Thomson has since had proceedings instituted against him by Fair Work Australia (FWA) for ripping off the HSU. Criminal charges are also highly likely to be instituted by the Victorian Police and/or NSW police in the near future.
Also it shows the pattern of the criminal conduct of covering up crimes by Slater and Gordon as only last week they said they could not find a file that most probably showed criminal conduct by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard when she worked at the law firm in the early 1990’s. The Slater & Gordon CEO Andrew Grech made numerous excuses as to why the file was lost. (Click here to read more)
But back to the Craig Thomson matter. The total payment was made up of $129,955 gross less tax of $45,194 ($84,761) and $30,000.
The key part in the Craig Thomson settlement is the $30,000 that he was paid by the HSU. (Click here to see the Deed of Release) It does not say why he was paid the $30,000. For that you have to go to the letter of offer Craig Thomson’s lawyers sent the HSU. They were requesting $65,000 for:
Your client pay our client the sum of $65,000 representing an amount Including
interest on outstanding entitlements, a contribution to this legal expenses and
damages for breach of privacy, breach of employment contract. denial of natural
justice and breach of confidential information for disclosing information to
Fairfax. (Click here to read the full letter of offer)
The $65,000 was obviously reduced to the $30,000 in the final settlement. It is worth noting as part of the letter of offer Craig Thomson sent to the HSU, he wanted them to “write to Fair Work Australia to advise It that the dispute between the parties has been resolved.” Yes that’s right, Mr Thomson wanted the HSU to help conceal his crimes by writing to FWA to try and stop their investigation of his fraud and theft. Which the HSU did try to do, at least in part by settling with him. Whether they wrote to FWA as he wanted is unknown by me at least. Maybe one of the readers knows. If you do add it to the comment section below.
A brief overview for readers who have not followed the story. Craig Thomson worked for the Health Services Union (HSU) for many years. In 2007 he was elected to federal parliament. After he was elected the HSU did an audit (2008) and found he had ripped off the union mainly using his credit card for such things as prostitutes, Nike shoes, electrical goods, election funding and cash withdrawals etc which totals over $500,000.
The HSU brought in the law firm Slater & Gordon to investigate and then brought in the accounting firm BDO Kendall (now BDO) in February 2009 for a forensic investigation of the fraud. In March 2009 it was brought to the attention of the AIR, firstly by an anonymous tip and then by a formal complaint from the HSU. (Click here to see the FWA report starting at page 26 paragraph 49 for the details) The AIR started making initial inquiries.
“On 8 April 2009 the Sydney Morning Herald published a story alleging that Craig Thomson used union credit cards to pay for prostitutes, withdraw over $100,000 in cash and fund his election campaign for the federal seat of Dobell. Thomson sued the newspaper for defamation, but withdrew proceedings when evidence was produced showing that the payments were made from his credit card, his drivers licence was checked and photocopied, and phone calls to escort agencies were made from his mobile phone and hotel rooms.” (Click here to read more on Wikipedia) If you click on the link someone has been editing Wikipedia to Mr Thomson’s benefit, so it has changed now from my quote which I took from a previous post.
I did write to the two Slater & Gordon lawyers who show up on the letter of offer and Deed of Settlement, Ken Fowlie and Phillip Pasfield. Below is the email:
From: Shane Dowling [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, 17 October 2012 4:33 PM
To: ‘email@example.com'; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
Subject: Media Request
Dear Mr Pasfield and Mr Fowlie
I am a journalist and would like to ask a couple of questions in relation to the Craig Thomson settlement that was negotiated by you two on behalf of the HSU and Mr Thomson’s lawyers in September 2010.
In 2009 Slater & Gordon and BDO accountants conducted an investigation into the alleged fraud by Mr Craig Thomson. The subsequent report from this investigation I understand was sent to the Victorian Police in 2009. The same Slater and Gordon/ BDO report forms the foundation for the FWA report that has resulted in civil proceedings against Mr Thomson announced this week.
- Given that Slater and Gordon were well aware that there was a prima facie case against Mr Thomson for fraud in 2009 why did you settle with Mr Thomson in 2010?
- Are you aware that what you did could be construed as an attempt to conceal a serious indictable offence?
- Who did you take instructions off at the HSU?
The above questions are coved by the crime/fraud exception which negates client attorney legal privilege. So there is nothing from stopping you from answering the questions.
Can you please reply ASAP as I will be publishing tonight.
I am still waiting on a reply but they did get the emails as I received a read receipt from Ken Fowlie and Phillip Pasfield’s assistant. Ken Fowlie is also a director of Slater and Gordon, so he really does have an obligation to respond to protect the companies name.
Plenty of questions for Slater & Gordon, Mr Fowlie and Mr Pasfield to answer and also the HSU as to why they paid Craig Thomson the money when they knew he owed them money and plenty of it. Clearly a case of attempting to conceal a crime by Slater and Gordon and whoever at the HSU decided to settle with Mr Thomson. Now that FWA has instituted proceedings the concealment attempt becomes even more obvious given their proceedings are based on the FWA report into Mr Thomson’s fraud and theft and their report was largely based on the Slater & Gordon Report from 2009.
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