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Graham Richardson facing Swiss bank account a -

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Graham Richardson facing Swiss bank account allegations

The World Today - Friday, 19 December , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Brigid Glanville

ELEANOR HALL: Revelations about a Swiss bank account have raised questions about whether Labor
Party powerbroker and former federal minster Graham Richardson will face further investigation over
his alleged links to the Offset Alpine scandal.

The Australian Financial Review says it has documents which show that Mr Richardson was instructing
a Swiss finance company on the direction of large sums of money, despite his previous denials that
he had any links to Swiss bank accounts.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is still investigating the role played by Mr
Richardson, the late stockbroker Rene Rivkin and businessman Trevor Kennedy in the share scandal of
the 1990s.

A criminal lawyer says this new evidence could see criminal charges being laid against the former
politician.

Brigid Glanville has our report.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The Australian Financial Review says it has documents that show that in 1994
Graham Richardson transferred $1-million into the account of an unknown man in Beirut.

It also says evidence shows that large sums of money passed through Mr Richardson's Zurich bank
accounts.

This new evidence contradicts what Graham Richardson has told the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission in the past. In a sworn testimony Mr Richardson denied having any links to
Swiss bank accounts.

Neil Chenoweth is a reporter with The Financial Review who has seen the Swiss bank account with Mr
Richardson's name on it.

NEIL CHENOWETH: It looks like his role in the Swiss accounts was far more extensive than we had
known. It looks like something like 4.5 to $5-million flowed through that the first account but
also he had a much more active second account there as well.

And the most interesting thing seems to be this transfer that Graham Richardson signed in 1994
where a million dollars was transferred from this second Swiss bank account of his to an account in
Beirut. The name on this account was Dennis Jamil Lattous. The real question is why is Graham
Richardson in 1994 sending over a million dollars to someone in Beirut?

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Peter Faris QC is a Melbourne criminal lawyer who has been following the Offset
Alpine printing company share scandal for many years. He says if ASIC chooses to investigate this
new information it may lead to perjury charges.

PETER FARIS: I would imagine if they can get the evidence together they'd be looking at this with
relation to a perjury charge for giving false evidence before ASIC when he denied he had Swiss bank
accounts if they can prove it. Apparently they're already looking at the other bank account that
everyone knew about so this would join it. So he'd be at risk at the moment I would have thought of
an investigation into two perjuries.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And perjury has maximum sentences does it?

PETER FARIS: Oh yes. Perjury for this would be regarded as being a very serious crime and he'd
certainly be at risk of going to jail if convicted. But of course he's presumed to be innocent.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Graham Richardson was also involved in a dispute with the Australian Tax Office
over the share scandal.

It's reported Mr Richardson settled a $1.4-million dispute with the tax office two months ago - a
figure much lower than the $4.6-million The Financial Review is now alleging it's linked to Mr
Richardson.

Questions are now being asked over whether the Australian Tax Office may now have another look at
Mr Richardson's business affairs. The ATO was unavailable for comment but a senior tax expert told
The World Today it would have the discretion to re-open the case.

Melbourne lawyer Peter Faris QC:

PETER FARIS: It's the criminal aspect of it in that it may be a fraud on the taxation commissioner,
depending on how it's all done and what you've declared, but they don't seem to be going down that
route because they, I think the tax office recently settled their claims against Richardson with
him for, I think it was more than a million dollars.

Now I think that ASIC have had these documents about the second Swiss bank account for a couple of
years. One would have hoped the tax office knew about them when they settled up. I would have
thought the settlement would be for all liabilities.

The tax office could look at prosecuting for fraud but I think that's unlikely as they've let the
other one go.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Graham Richardson didn't return any of The World Today's phone calls. ASIC was
unavailable for comment but did say its investigations into Offset Alpine are continuing.

ELEANOR HALL: Brigid Glanville with that report.