News October 27, 2015

Sheppard embroiled in corruption scandal

Former Editor
Sheppard embroiled in corruption scandal

Greg Sheppard, the father of George, Amy and Emma Sheppard and financier of the siblings’ Platinum-selling band Sheppard, has been called out by SBS for detailing how one would bribe politicians.

Airing last night on SBS’ Dateline programme, the footage shows Greg Sheppard a former Queensland crown prosecutor, with business partner and Papua New Guinea lawyer, Harvey Maladina explaining to an undercover NGO Global Witness representative how a law firm conceal corrupt money.

Filmed at the pair’s law firm in Papua New Guinea Sheppard is heard telling the NGO rep, who posed as an Australian businessman how to move funds without raising suspicion.

“If you were to pay seven figures to anybody, the world would fall in on top of you […] It would have to be something that didn't raise suspicion, something that was ostensibly commercial.

“The days of banging a million bucks into this secret numbered account in Singapore is over.”

Interestingly, in 2013 Greg Sheppard was registered as a Director of Wilson Protective Services PNG, the company that runs the Manus Island Detention Centre in PNG. Wilson Protective Services has been accused of abusing asylum seekers on Manus Island

What's more, according to the blog ManusLeaks, the company is owned by a company of the same name in Singapore, where international profits earned outside the country are not subject to local tax.

Greg Sheppard, who recently celebrated Sheppard's US Platinum certification for the ARIA winning single Geronimo, did make mention of his children's efforts in the footage. "I play a very important instrument in the whole thing, it's called the negotiable instrument. I sign all the cheques," Sheppard told the undercover operative.

Sheppard has responded to the Dateline report in a statement published by SBS. He said al allegations made against him regarding comments he made in the footage are false. "I consider the allegations contained in your letter to be false and highly defamatory, and you ought not to publish them. I reserve all of my rights pertaining to this matter, and have forwarded a copy of your email and this reply to my solicitors."

In a similar statement issued to Fairfax, the Managing Partner of Young & Williams, which counts the corrupt PNG President as a client, said his comments were hypothetical.

"I am often approached informally by a variety of people who are not clients to share aspects of my knowledge and practical experience in PNG, and in these areas of the law," Sheppard said in a statement published by Fairfax. "My comments on these occasions are by the very nature of the exchange, general, hypothetical and merely descriptive.

“I always assume that those who ask me for this kind of information are doing so to broaden their understanding of the issues and practices here under the relevant laws. It is illogical to think someone would be looking for this type of information to ensure their conduct is illegal. Any information I share, is in the context of the overarching requirement to comply with the laws of PNG. If your anonymous source was one of these people, I regret that he did not clearly understand this."

Papua New Guinea's Taskforce Sweep chairman Sam Koim has urged Australian Federal Police to investigate. "Australia is becoming the choice destination for dirty politicians in the region to park their funds," Koim told Sydney Morning Herald. "The federal government needs to launch a major investigation." 

Watch the full episode of Dateline here.

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