– A defiant Craig Thomson is facing damaging criminal charges that he misused $42,800, allegedly using union credit cards to pay for prostitutes, R-rated movies and ATM withdrawals.
As the Gillard Government continues to reel from the scandal, Victoria Police yesterday outlined 154 fraud offences against Mr Thomson including allegations he spent more than $5000 on escort services while he was Health Services Union boss between 2002 and 2007.
During a packed court appearance in Melbourne, the MP was warned against contacting sex workers at a number of brothels including Boardroom Escorts, Tiffany’s Girls and Young Blondes.
Fraud Squad detectives, who have spent 18 months pursuing the embattled MP, outlined a number of damaging allegations including that he dishonestly used HSU funds to pay for cigarettes, air travel, food and even firewood.
The charge sheets allege the now cross-bench MP lived the high life as a union boss, staying at the Hilton, Hyatt and other upmarket hotels, and purchasing in-house pornographic movies on 21 separate occasions.
Alongside his wife, Zoe, and with his lawyer close by, the embattled MP slammed the police investigation as he left the Melbourne Magistrates Court to a waiting media scrum he likened to an AFL Grand Final.
Police have alleged that Mr Thomson made seven separate payments for escort services between 2003 and 2007, including $2475.00 to Keywed, which trades as Sydney Outcalls, $660 to A Touch of Class and $770 to Boardroom Escorts.
He is also alleged to have stolen $3750 through a series of ATM withdrawals using his union credit cards.
Prosecutors said Mr Thomson was now facing 154 charges, five more than the 149 he faced after his NSW arrest last week.
A brief of evidence, expected to comprise 20 volumes, was expected to be served on Mr Thomson’s legal team by April 17th, the court heard.
Mr Thomson’s lawyer applied to have a bail condition, that ordered Mr Thomson not to contact certain witnesses, be removed. He said because prosecutors were unable to provide Mr Thomson with a list of witnesses it was an unfair condition that was a recipe for trouble.
But Magistrate Donna Bakos refused the application because the condition placed no undue onus on Mr Thomson.
Instead, she varied the condition, ordering he not knowingly contact witnesses.
Mr Thomson did not say anything throughout the 15-minute hearing until asked whether he understood the revised conditions.
He simply answered “Yes, Your Honour” – Shannon Deery & Steve Lewis