Federal MP Craig Thomson has an estimated legal bill of $300,000 for his current criminal and civil proceedings which he is defending. So who is paying the bill? It is only a couple of years ago that the NSW Labor party had to pay $350,000 in legal bills for Mr Thomson so he did not go bankrupt and get kicked out of parliament.
The mail is it that the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have stepped in with a slush fund to help with the reddies needed to pay his legal expenses. The TWU is run by the well-known slush fund operator, fraudster, thief, money launderer and National Vice President of the Labor Party, Tony Sheldon. There is also mail that the AWU might have also set up a slush fund on the side to help Craig Thomson. As we all know the AWU is well versed in running slush funds, just ask the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The biggest question in my mind though is, has Justice Christopher Jessup of the Federal Court of Australia been deliberately misled by Craig Thomson and/or his lawyer Christopher McArdle in matter VID798/2012 – General Manager of Fair Work Australia v Craig Thomson.
Craig Thomson worked at the Health Services Union before he entered parliament and ripped off the union and has been under investigation for 4 years or more and is now facing civil and criminal charges over the matter. The former President of the HSU, Michael Williamson, is also facing criminal charges. I have done a number of posts on the matter for people who want further background. (Click here to read the posts)
Craig Thomson’s financial position
Mr Thomson’s current financial position came to light on Thursday when the Federal Court of Australia published an affidavit by Mr Thomson’s lawyer Christopher McArdle. (Click here to read the affidavit) The smh.com.au posted an article with an overview of the affidavit on Saturday titled “Thomson has $60 in bank, court told”. (Click here to read)
The bottom line is that Craig Thomson says he has $60 in the bank and owes $23,000 dollars on credit cards. He has estimated legal costs of $300,000 which is broken down to $200,000 for the civil proceedings and $100,000 for the criminal proceedings. Craig Thomson is being represented by the Melbourne law firm Galbally O’Brien for the criminal proceedings.
Christopher McArdle who wrote the affidavit is representing Mr Thomson for the civil proceedings and says that he has already billed Mr Thomson ”about $50,000 in legal fees” yet makes no mention if he has been paid the money or if he has by who.
All roads lead to Rome or in this case ALP Vice President Tony Sheldon
It needs to be remembered the Labor Party already has form on the board for paying Craig Thomson’s legal expenses to the tune of $350,000 when he took legal action against Fairfax Media for defamation and then withdrew the claim when he could see that they had the evidence of his fraud and theft. Part of the $350,000 was also for other legal costs for Mr Thomson. (Click here to read more) If Thomson could not afford the bills then how can he now? The affidavit shows he can’t.
Tony Sheldon is the National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and is as corrupt as they come. This includes fraud, theft, setting up dodgy slush funds and laundering money out of NSW government departments and into Labor Party election accounts. I have written a previous post on this subject titled “Money laundering the Labor Party and Union way.” (Click here to read)
Mr Sheldon also has close ties to the former HSU President Michael Williamson. It says this about Sheldon on the Power Index for Union Heavies in May last year:
“By 1999 he had become secretary of the TWU’s powerful NSW branch, one of the ALP’s biggest donors. Sheldon’s sway within Labor was bolstered by a close alliance with Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson, with the two unions voting in lockstep at party conferences.”
“Williamson also supported Sheldon in his ill-fated bid to become head of the NSW Labor Council in 2001. John Robertson, who now leads the NSW Labor party, prevailed and the pair remains far from chummy. Williamson and Sheldon have also since fallen out.” (Click here to read more)
And this in The Australian in February this year:
“Mr Sheldon said last night he had regular contact with senior HSU officials, including former national president Michael Williamson, but was “shocked” by the allegations levelled against the union leadership.” (Click here to read more)
It seems like Sheldon and Williamson no longer have “fallen out“.
The bottom line is Craig Thomson cannot pay his own legal costs. So in steps the fraudster and money man Tony Sheldon who has close links to both the HSU and Labor Party to solve the problem.
If the mail was wrong, which comes from a reliable source, then the only question that needs to be answered is which union is paying for Craig Thomson’s legal expenses and how it is structured. Craig Thomson is sure not paying his own legal costs. He has obviously has done a deal with the Labor Party / Unions to support the government in return to have his legal bills paid as he has done similar before with the $350,000 that the NSW Labor Party previously paid.
Questions for Craig Thomson
Under Federal Parliament rules Mr Thomson has and must declare gifts and assets within 28 days of receiving them on the Register of Pecuniary Interests. I do not know if he previously declared the $350,000 legal expense paid by the Labor Party but he should have.
One way around declaring the current legal expenses is to structure the deal that the money be paid after he has left parliament, which is only a few months away at the federal election in September barring a miracle that Mr Thomson is re-elected. This seems to be supported by the fact that the affidavit says Mr Thomson has been billed about $50,000 so far, yet makes no mention of if it has been paid which would be relevant to the evidence filed in the court. Has it been paid or is it a current liability that Mr Thomson owes? I think that is relevant to the court evidence. And why the “about $50,000” and not an exact amount? A few key strokes of a computer would give an exact amount one would have thought. Seems a bit odd.
But even if Mr Thomson has only been given a guarantee that his legal expenses will be paid it could be argued that the guarantee should be declared on the Register of Pecuniary Interests.
Questions for the Federal Labor Party
The Labor Party have an obligation to declare if the TWU or other unions are paying Craig Thomson’s legal expenses. The Labor Party would say if questioned, about who is paying Mr Thomson’s legal expenses, that it is not their business as he is suspended from the party.
But that is not good enough. The Labor Party is not much more than an extension of the unions. It is the unions that by and large fund the Labor Party. It is also the Labor Party that previously paid the $350,000 for Mr Thomson. The union members are entitled to know where their money is going as well.
Has Justice Jessup of the Federal Court of Australia been deliberately been misled?
It is rather odd that Craig Thomson did not write the affidavit, as per above, himself given it outlines his and his wife’s financial position. The purpose of the affidavit is to assist his application, which was heard last week by Justice Jessup, to have the civil matters by FWA stayed until the criminal matters are heard and dealt with. Justice Jessup has reserved his judgement.
The affidavit implies a story of hardship with little money and large legal costs as a reason why the civil matters should be stayed. But this argument could not be supported if the TWU or someone else was paying his legal bills. If Craig Thomson had written the affidavit himself he would have had to declare that the TWU is paying his legal bills or lie in the affidavit which is a criminal offence.
Solution! Have his lawyer write the affidavit and if later caught out that the TWU or another union is paying the legal bills, then he can just say he never told his lawyer as he did not think it was relevant and his lawyer never misled the court. Problem solved.
Based on all the evidence and Craig Thomson’s previous form he has used his position to do a deal for someone else to pay his legal bills so he does not end up a bankrupt. That being the case then the court has been misled and Justice Jessup played for a fool.
Is paying Craig Thomson’s legal bills a criminal offence?
Everyone in the country knows that Craig Thomson ripped off the union and have done so for years with all the evidence splashed across the media. Back in 2009 the law firm Slater and Gordon and the accounting firm BDO conducted an investigation that left it in no doubt. Last year I wrote a post titled “Slater and Gordon lawyers nail Craig Thomson for fraud. The real smoking gun!” (Click here to read the post)
So is the paying of his legal expenses a criminal offence? I would think so. It is an attempt to pervert the course of justice and conceal a serious indictable offence. The Labor Party even admitted they paid the original $350,000 to make sure he did not go bankrupt and get kicked out of parliament. (Bankrupts can not be a federal politician) They never said they paid his bills because they thought he was innocent of the criminal offences, because like everyone else they knew he was guilty. And if the Labor Party knew he was guilty of criminal offences they should not have been paying his legal expenses.
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