A wealthy former AFL player, Clive Palmer’s media adviser and a Gold Coast ex-cop turned private eye have been cleared of bizarre allegations.
A wealthy former AFL player, Clive Palmer’s media adviser and a Gold Coast ex-cop turned private eye have been cleared of bizarre allegations.

’Vindicated’ trio cleared over banker kidnap allegations

A multi-millionaire former AFL player, Clive Palmer's media adviser and a controversial Gold Coast ex-cop turned private eye have been cleared of bizarre allegations involving a plot to kidnap a NAB banker by luring him to a remote Indonesian island.

Charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and attempted fraud against former Sydney Swan turned Schoolies founder Tony Smith, Mr Palmer's media man Andrew Crook and ex-detective turned private investigator Mick Featherstone were dropped in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday, six years after being laid.

All three denied the claims.

Former AFL player Tony Smith outside court. File photo
Former AFL player Tony Smith outside court. File photo

The three men were accused of luring Mr Smith's NAB personal banker, Adam Gazal, to the Indonesian island of Batam in January 2013 for an interview for a high-paying job with the billionaire Mr Palmer's latest mining venture.

The court has thrown out the case involving police allegations Mr Smith confronted Mr Gazal and forced him to record a false confession that he had lied in giving evidence in an unrelated civil suit involving a mega-mansion on the Gold Coast's "Millionaires Row" at Mermaid Beach.

Phil McCarthy, QC, today told a Brisbane magistrate that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was offering no evidence in respect of all three defendants on each charge.

Magistrate Mark Nolan dismissed the charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and attempted fraud and discharged the three men.

 

A magistrate in the committal hearing recently made an order that the NAB provide original documents prepared for a civil trial to Mr Smith's lawyers. Lawyers for the bank had opposed the application.

 

Outside court, Mr McCarthy would not comment on why the charges were being discontinued.

Lawyer Jim Coburn, for Andrew Crook, said outside court: "Andrew has lived with this nightmare for six years. He is extremely happy that it is all over, it's resolved and his position has been vindicated."

Mr Smith said he was relieved the charges had been dropped but had also been looking forward to his "day in court" against the NAB.

 

Clive Palmer. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Clive Palmer. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Mr Crook said today he felt an enormous sense of relief that the matter had been finally dropped and his name has now been cleared.

"I have maintained from day one that I was innocent," he said.

"It has taken six long years for vindication but the day has finally arrived. It is an enormous weight off my shoulders.

"The impact on my personal and business life has been devastating.

"For a matter to be held back in the magistrate's court for six years has been frustrating. One wonders whether the system is just broken or if political motivations were at play."

Mr Crook said he could never have endured the ordeal without the support of family and friends.

"I have had incredible support from people close to me, my wonderful family and friends and business associates including Clive Palmer and Skroo and Jude Turner. I will be forever grateful,'' Mr Crook said.

Lawyer Nick Dore, who represented Tony Smith, said: "It has been a long road for Mr Smith since being charged, but he is relieved that the proceedings are now over and his name has been cleared.

"He is looking forward to moving on and putting these proceedings behind him."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as 'Vindicated': Trio cleared over banker kidnap allegations


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