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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sally Zou in court

Chinese businesswoman Sally Zou, the mysterious Liberal Party donor is in court.
She is being sued by Lee Rossetti who says she owes him for unpaid wages and super entitlements – a total of $1.15 million.
 He alleges he was sacked two years into a five year contract at her AusGold’s mine near Broken Hill and only received $218,000 for two years work.
Ms Zou’s lawyers claim Mr Rossetti was never employed full time and was only hired as a consultant.
The next hearing in the case will be in early May.
Ms Zou donated $140,000 to the Liberals during the last federal campaign and created the Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation.

When the Foreign Minister denied any knowledge of the fund which caused a ruckus in Parliament over foreign donations, it was disbanded. Ms Bishop's office said the Foreign Affairs Minister had been introduced to Ms Zou at various Liberal Party events but there had been no other meetings. 

So who is Sally Zou?

Article by Angelique Donnellan and Sofie Wainwright from ABC News

AusGold Mining Group had ambitions to mine a gold deposit near Tibooburra, north of Broken Hill, and former AusGold accountant Peter Johnston said he remembered the early excitement.
"I would say probably for the first 18 months of the project it was a pretty exciting and vibrant project," he said.
But it did not last.
"I've been 45 years in the mining industry, of which all were spent basically accounting and administration, [and] I've never seen a bank account conducted the way the AusGold bank account was conducted," he said.
"Money would come in, money would go out — I could never understand the reasoning for that."

Towards the end of his time at the company he struggled to pay bills, and preparations at the mine site stalled when a contractor who was owed money pulled out.
"Just before Christmas, in December 2016, our finances dried up," Mr Johnston said.
"I had no money to actually pay outstanding accounts. I'm led to believe that's because of a tightening of funds out of China.
"There was over $400,000 owed to our creditors."
Ms Brown, who also worked for AusGold, said money seemed to be "no object" to Ms Zou.
"She always seems to be flashing the money around and very generous with giving out gifts and stuff like that," she said.

"But when it comes to the real world, what did she think we were going to do?"
A backpack stuffed with $120,000 in notes
The next few months were unpredictable.
Ms Brown said one month some people would be paid, then the next month some other people would be paid.
"So contractors weren't getting paid, our wages weren't getting paid but we'd come so far with Sally and we wanted to have this trust in her and the belief in her that she was doing the right thing," she said.
"But from what I've seen, what happened in the end, I think we were all let down really badly."
Mr Johnston said there were times when Ms Zou said she was in the bank organising money and promised money was coming, but it never arrived.
"That happened on a regular basis from January right up to the middle of April when we finished," he said.
In April, Mr Johnston and Ms Brown were among nine employees who were sacked.
The termination letter stated that AusGold had suspended all work in Broken Hill and at the mine site.
Ms Zou rarely gives interviews and declined 7.30's request.
But when asked by the ABC's Broken Hill reporter, she denied not paying her workers.
"No I never ever stopped paying my staff, sorry," Ms Zou said.
All of the former workers except one say Ms Zou ultimately paid what was owed to them and contractors.
But the way one payment was made, at a meeting in Adelaide, took them by surprise.
"Basically a knapsack Sally brought into the room emptied out $120,000 in notes," Mr Johnston said.

Former AusGold contractor Ana Storey was astounded.
"Nobody deals in cash in business," she told 7.30.
"It would have just as easily, I would have thought, been electronically transferred, but it is what it is."
7.30 pressed Ms Zou for more information and a public relations firm responded on her behalf.
They said Ms Zou recognised many of her early dealings did not align with Australian business culture and practices and she was addressing that with the guidance of professional advisers.
They said she thought she was doing the right thing paying her workers in cash and, while it was common practice to do so in China, she now understood that was not the way things were done here.
The statement said Ms Zou had a background in engineering, finance and international trading and she had worked in these fields in China and other places overseas.
They said she had no friends or family highly placed in the Chinese Government and her money had entered the country legally and had been scrutinised by the Federal Government's financial intelligence and regulatory agency Austrac.
Asked about the current status of her mine project, the public relations firm responded that it was "commercial in confidence".

Friday, April 20, 2018

AMP boss Craig Meller should go straight to jail

AMP boss Craig Meller shouldn't be allowed to just step down and walk away, he should go straight to jail.  

This week we learn that AMP deliberately lied to the corporate watchdog ASIC for almost ten years to cover its practice of charging customers fees for advice that was never received.

And can you believe Meller's cringe-worthy apology?
"I am personally devastated by the issues which have been raised publicly this week, particularly by the impact they have had on our customers, employees, planners and shareholders," Mr Meller said.
 "This is not the AMP I know and these are not the actions our customers should expect from the company.
"I do not condone them or the misleading statements made to ASIC. However, as they occurred during my tenure as CEO, I believe that stepping down as CEO is an appropriate measure to begin the work that needs to be done to restore public and regulatory trust in AMP."

And if the government thinks that a heavy fine will suffice for CEOs found guilty of despicable acts, they have another think coming.  These crooks need to be made an example of  - no good behaviour bonds, no fines, just real jail time.
And let's be honest, we wouldn't be having this Royal Commission into Banking if it were not for three members of the Coalition who threatened to cross the floor if Turnbull refused to act, which forced his hand.   
The Prime Minister had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this point because he knew very well what has been going on and hoped we would never find out.  

And surprise, surprise, the government today announced there would be 10 years behind bars maximum penalty and heavy fines.  What a joke, heavy fines won't worry these boys, a few million here and there won't matter in the least,  but jail time will put a stop to it once and for all.

Today we learn astonishing admissions that a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank, Count Financial, charged advice fees for years after clients had died.  

Finally Malcolm, the cat is out of the bag, and the revelations get worse every day.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Julie Goodwin guilty of drink driving

The winner of the first Australian Masterchef series, Julie Goodwin, allegedly tried to evade a police random breath test on Thursday before she was charged with mid-range drink driving.
Goodwin was driving a Mini Cooper sedan in North Gosford on the NSW Central Coast when she allegedly performed a U-turn to evade an RBT about 8pm.
Police found her car nearby a short time later and took Goodwin, 47, to the station where she returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.107, a police spokeswoman said.

From her Facebook page

It is with great shame and regret that I write these words.
Last night while driving home from a celebratory function I had catered, I was stopped by Police and subjected to a random breath test which I failed. I have subsequently been charged with mid-range drink driving.

Needless to say I accept full responsibility for this error in judgment, which I believe is completely out of character for me. 

I want to take the opportunity to offer a heartfelt and unreserved apology to my family, my colleagues, and to the broader community. I would also like to apologise to everyone that has supported me over many years, I have let you all down. 

I am devastated that I have acted in a way so contrary to what I believe, to how I usually conduct myself, and to what I have taught my children.

Many lessons will flow from this, and I will learn from each of them



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Salim Mehajer convicted of multiple counts of electoral fraud in 2012 Auburn Council elections


 By court reporter Mazoe Ford

Salim Mehajer has been convicted of multiple counts of electoral fraud, with a Sydney Magistrate finding he acted in a "joint criminal enterprise" with his sister to influence the 2012 Auburn Council elections.
The former deputy mayor of Auburn is currently before Central Local Court on more than 100 charges relating to forging documents and giving false or misleading information to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
Mehajer's sister Fatima Mehajer earlier pleaded guilty to giving false information to the AEC and will be sentenced at a later date.
During the trial, prosecutors said text messages between Fatima and Salim Mehajer showed they were communicating about the fraud.
Magistrate Beverly Schurr said the AEC became suspicious when a large number of online enrolment applications were submitted just before the deadline on July 31, 2012.
In these applications dozens of Sydneysiders had listed or changed their address to residences in Auburn.
During the trial, prosecutors said the online electoral applications were submitted without the knowledge of the people whose names appeared on them.
They alleged the applications came from computer IP addresses associated with the Mehajer family and that the siblings had exchanged numerous text messages about the fraud in the lead up to July 31.
Mehajer was elected into the Auburn Council as deputy mayor two months later.
The property developer showed up 10 minutes late to court and was dropped off by someone driving a Porsche.
Just a week ago, Mehajer walked out of Silverwater jail after being remanded for 10 weeks for perverting the course of justice for allegedly staging a car crash on his way to court last October.

The disgraced businessman won his freedom after the judge decided his continued detention was unjustified.
He is under strict bail conditions and must report twice daily to police.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Geoffrey Rush unwell after inappropriate touching allegation

Geoffrey Rush with Eryn Jean Norvill, the actress he is alleged to have touched inappropriately.

After the Daily Telegraph published a picture of Geoffrey Rush posing as “King Leer” on its front page, the Oscar winner is reportedly so devastated, he can’t eat, can’t sleep, and is suffering from chronic anxiety.  He believes his reputation has been so badly damaged, not only in Australia,  but throughout the theatre/movie world, it may never recover.

Australia’s largest theatre company – the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) – reported an accusation he had engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” during the 2015/16 Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

Rush firmly rejects the allegation and says he “abhors any form of maltreatment of any person’’
Now the Daily Telegraph has named one of the confidential sources it used to confirm its front-page story – STC executive director Patrick McIntyre and the newspaper has also filed a cross claim against the STC.
The case is likely to go to trial in December.

Friday, April 6, 2018

David Hogg found guilty of sexual assault

By the Specialist Reporting Team's Alison Branley

For more than two decades Helen McMaugh kept dark memories of a sexual assault she endured as a teenager buried deep inside.
That was until she saw her perpetrator being lauded in a major newspaper.
The man was David Benedict Hogg and he was being awarded for his work as the founder of the non-for-profit organisation Lifestyle Solutions.
The multi-million-dollar charity cares for 1,200 adults with disabilities and 300 foster children in group homes across the country.
"I was absolutely horrified," Ms McMaugh said.
She thought authorities knew about the former Baptist youth minister's past.
Hogg was banned from Ms McMaugh's high school in 1988 when the principal discovered Hogg had sexually assaulted Ms McMaugh while she was doing work experience with him.
In 2010, when Hogg appeared in the media, Ms McMaugh began making calls.
"That was when I found out that nothing has been done. It had just been covered up by everyone, by the church and by the school," she said.
Hogg, now aged 65, has been convicted of sexually assaulting her while she was a student at Carlingford High School, in Sydney's north-west.
During the trial the court heard Hogg had acknowledged he took the schoolgirl on a Friday night drive to counsel her, but he denied he took her to the Harbour Bridge and denied touching her at all.
His defence argued he was watching football at the house of another girl's family.
At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Hogg continued to maintain his innocence and said he "absolutely" did not sexually assault Ms McMaugh, but accepted he had been found guilty.
He said he'd been medicated for depression since he was charged, and had become embarrassed and paranoid when going out in public.
"I think it's had a great emotional and psychological effect [on me]," he said.
The court heard that since charges were laid, Hogg had lost his position on a number of community and not-for-profit boards, and was last week expelled from the board of Lifestyle Solutions following his conviction.
He was also affected by extensive media coverage of his case, which he "did not think was necessary".
"I feel embarrassed and ashamed by the coverage and how that was associated with me," he said.
Hogg's sentencing hearing will continue in May.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cosmetic surgeons are still butchering Australian women

Jean Huang died following a botched medical procedure at a Sydney beauty salon.
When will women learn that there is a huge difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon.  There is no comparison, you take a huge risk going to a so-called cosmetic surgeon when what you need is a plastic surgeon.
A plastic surgeon is a doctor who has trained to perform cosmetic procedures for approximately 10-12 years.
The term 'cosmetic surgeon' can be used by anyone who has completed a basic medical degree in university, with no specific surgical training.
Associate Professor Gazi Hussain, Vice President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, has been trying to do something about this crisis for the past 20 years.

"It’s very sad and it’s very frustrating, we’ve been trying to get people’s attention about this issue for 20 years and as the number of surgeries increases, so do the complications."

A 30 year old mother saw a Facebook ad for affordable breast augmentation and assumed because it was an Australian doctor, it was a safe choice.
The procedure took place in June of 2015 and at first, Humm says everything seemed fine.
"They were healing really well. I wasn’t in much pain and they looked really good."
About two weeks into her recovery, however, Humm started to feel pain in her left breast.
"It became red and I thought it was part of the healing process, then I was drying myself after having a shower on a Friday night and I felt something dripping down my stomach.
"I looked down and I had fluid coming out of my left breast. It had swelled up and the wound itself was weeping."
 Her doctor took a swab and once again assured her it was a normal part of the healing process.
As time passed, the wound on her left breast went black, and later that day something strange happened – “It was silicone, I was actually pulling it out of my breast with my fingers.
Her doctor told her it was 'impossible' for silicone to be coming out, so she sent him a photo. At that stage, she alleges her doctor began freaking out too.
"He told me to come and see him next week, but I couldn’t wait, so I went to my local hospital. They’d never seen anything like it."
Doctors at the hospital said her wound looked like she'd been 'butchered' and that her doctor had done 'a horrible job'.
They recommended she go back to her original doctor to have the left implant taken out, which she did for an additional cost of $2000.
Still, her left breast developed yet another infection.
"Eventually it calmed down and my doctor told me to come back in a few months and pay another $2000 to have another one put in. I decided not to. There was no way I was going back to him," she said.
"I had a saggy breast with nothing in it and one with an implant in it that was a horrible job.”
The mother-of-four had the right implant removed just three weeks ago, after two years of living with mismatched, lopsided breasts.
It wasn't until she made contact with other dissatisfied patients of the same doctor on Facebook that she discovered there has been multiple complaints made against him.
Information that would have come in handy before her disastrous procedure.
Nicole Montgomery is a registered nurse who founded Trusted Surgeons, a non-profit organisation that helps Australians find qualified surgeons to perform complex surgical procedures.
Montgomery assisted in finding Humm a qualified surgeon to remove the remaining implant.  The 38-year-old previously worked at the Cosmetic Institute which is the subject of a class action lawsuit since September 2017.
Montgomery says it was her time at the Cosmetic Institute that made her aware of how many unqualified doctors are performing invasive, cosmetic procedures.
"If you’re a specialist plastic surgeon, you’ve been through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons," she said. "If you’re a cosmetic surgeon, you may or may not have had any formal training at all."