Related News

Home » World

Australian police search bureaucrat's home

POLICE searched the home today of an Australian bureaucrat in an investigation centered around an e-mail that that government claims was faked in an effort to challenge Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's honesty.

Detectives searched the Canberra home of Godwin Grech, a Treasury official who manages a fund established to help financially distressed car dealers.

A police statement did not explain what they were looking for or if they found anything pertinent to the fraud investigation. The detectives left the property without commenting to journalists assembled outside.

"As it is related to an ongoing investigation, it would not be appropriate to comment further," the statement said.

Grech was believed to be inside but did not answer the door.

In the biggest political crisis to hit Rudd's 19-month-old government, Grech claimed last week that the prime minister had contacted him on behalf of a car dealer friend, John Grant, who was seeking a government loan.

The opposition has accused Rudd of misleading the Parliament when he said he had nothing to do with Grant's application for credit from a 2 billion Australian dollar ($1.6 billion) government fund.

Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan denied this was true, and said there was no paperwork or other evidence to suggest the prime minister's office had been involved in the application.

Grech told a Senate inquiry on Friday that he was first alerted to Grant's case by an e-mail from Rudd's office, but he said he could find no record of that e-mail and conceded that his recollection could be wrong.

On Saturday, News Corp. newspapers in Australia published an e-mail that the government said was a fake. It was purportedly a request by a staffer from the prime minister's office in February for Grech to give priority to Grant's credit application.

The government responded by calling on the police to mount a fraud investigation into the e-mail.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio said police determined Monday that the e-mail was a fake and had been sent from the Treasury to Grech's home e-mail account.

Government lawmakers cited the ABC report in Parliament on Monday, arguing that opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull should resign for relying on a forgery to attack the prime minister.

Without solid evidence that Rudd helped Grant's loan application, the opposition shifted its attack on Monday to Swan who argues that he did not give Grant's application special treatment.

Grant, who gave Rudd a secondhand pickup truck to use for campaigning and once sold Swan a car, has not been granted a loan from the government fund.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend