Tasmanian Times

Economy

Victorian Liberal Party probes missing $million-plus. Tassie Libs in damage control …

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Damien Mantach

The Victorian Liberal Party is being investigated after a forensic audit uncovered the loss of $2 million worth of party funds. At the centre is a former Director of The Tasmanian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia; who became State Director of the Liberal Party in Victoria. ABC 7.30 reported that Mantach had been required to pay back more than $30,000 when he left as director of the Tasmanian Libs …

The Liberal Party was on Thursday morning preparing to release a statement confirming the findings of an investigation will be handed to Victoria Police.

It is believed party officials are in an emergency meeting.

Former state director Damien Mantachhas reportedly been questioned by the party over financial irregularities stretching back over four years.

The initial investigation, undertaken by accounting firm PPB Advisory, uncovered the fraudulent invoices, including potentially some made out to a non-existent company, the Herald Sun reported.

State Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the party was furious, calling it a “pretty basic effort of embezzlement”.

Read more here

ABC: Victorian Liberal Party accuses former state director of stealing more than $1m in campaign funds The Victorian Liberal Party has accused its former state director Damien Mantach of embezzling more than $1 million of election campaign funds. Discrepancies were uncovered during a forensic audit of the party’s finances after its November 2014 state election loss. The party alleged Mr Mantach took about $1.5 million over four years and used the money on “lifestyle” spending. Liberal leader Matthew Guy said the party would ask Victoria Police to investigate. “The party is furious, we want our money back,” he said. “We will be doing everything we can to ensure that justice is done.” Mr Guy said MPs felt betrayed and branch members were gutted the money they had raised, which might have made a difference to the party’s election campaign, was gone. “A lot of people do a lot of work to get us on a war footing in an election, that involves raising a lot of money,” Mr Guy said. “When someone allegedly thieves a lot of money from you, it leaves you pretty cold.” Former premier Denis Napthine, who was the party’s leader during last year’s campaign, said he was surprised and bitterly disappointed by the allegations. Party president Michael Kroger said those in the party monitoring spending had failed.

• Download The Herald-Sun report …

Victorian_Liberal_Party_investigating_2_million_missing_after_election_campaign_Herald_Sun.pdf

From The Australian …

One of the Liberal Party’s most senior backroom figures has been accused of the theft of up to $2 million of campaign funds in a serious and embarrassing setback for Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s bid to hold on to key Victorian seats at the next federal election.

Victoria Police will be called in Thursday to investigate the alleged disappearance of the money after suspicions were raised by Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger.

The party’s administrative committee is set to meet this morning to discuss how to deal with the missing money, which was to be used on the upcoming federal campaign.

The Australian understands that the figure accused of being behind the fraud has admitted to the scam.

The party is believed to have isolated the scandal to one person but the fallout from the missing money will rock the entire organisation.

The person suspected of the theft is a high-profile figure who is accused of making out bogus invoices and of having funnelled funds back to his family interests.

The scam has been investigated by the party and accountants for several weeks and comes after Mr Kroger questioned how party money had been used during the state election campaign in November.

“It is shocking for everyone; it’s unbelievable that this has happened. It will rock the foundations of the party,’’ a senior Liberal said last night.

“There will be no winners.”

It is believed Mr Kroger’s intervention initially was seen internally as a factional play by the party president but that his suspicions about missing money were realised once the party’s books were opened up.

Senior sources said there was no suggestion of systemic wrongdoing by multiple people, with the offending allegedly confined to one backroom figure.

The person involved has not been directly associated with the party for many months.

The missing money comes as the party prepares to deal with what went wrong in the 2014 state election campaign, with an exhaustive review being conducted into the one-term election failure.

The party recently elevated Simon Frost to the state director’s position and he has played a key behind-the-scenes role in rooting out the alleged corruption in the party.

Damien Mantach’s Twitter account has vanished …

SourceWatch: All About Damien Mantach

A LITTLE HISTORY …

SMH 2013: Abbott backs Vic campaigner despite tape scandal … However, Mr Abbott said Mr Mantach had his support. ”I know Damien Mantach well. He is a person of integrity, so let’s see where this investigation goes. He has my confidence.” …

MEANWHILE elsewhere …

brisbanetimes: LNP ‘secret’ donations may be seized by state The Electoral Commission of Queensland is seeking crown law advice over the $100,000 in “secret” donations the LNP (Liberal National Party) can not give names for, with the possibility the state may seize the funds. On Wednesday, LNP President Bruce McIver said the issue was a “distraction technique” and said the ECQ had “accepted that it has not been possible to provide some names”, but the party had made “every effort” to comply with the changes in the declaration laws.

• Peter in Comments: ‘As Liberal people sometimes remind us, if a political party can’t get its own house in order, how can it be trusted to manage the nation’s money?’

Cassy O’Connor: Criminal Code Amendment (Misconduct in Public Office) Bill Tabled Both the old parties will be given the opportunity in Parliament to bring Tasmania into line with the rest of the country and ensure the highest possible standards of ethical, lawful conduct in public office. Tabled today, the Criminal Code Amendment (Misconduct in Public Office) Bill 2015 addresses serious concerns raised repeatedly by the Integrity Commission. Tasmania is the only jurisdiction not to have this offence in its criminal code or common law. This is unacceptable and can’t be justified. The Greens’ Bill would give the Integrity Commission the teeth it needs to do its job. Tasmanians deserve to know that those who hold public office are held to the highest standard and are not immune from the law. We hope the Government and the Opposition act in the public interest and support our Amendment Bill when we bring it on for debate next month.

FRIDAY, August 21 …

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ABC: Tasmanian Liberals assure members former state director repaid all money owed to party

The Tasmanian Liberals have assured members the party is not affected by allegations former state director Damien Mantach stole $1.5 million from the election fund of the Victorian Liberal Party.

The police fraud squad is investigating the allegations against Mr Mantach, who served as state director in both Tasmania and Victoria.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle in Victoria.

Tasmanian Liberal Party president Geoff Page used Facebook ( HERE ) to confirmed that Mr Mantach did owe the Tasmanian branch money in 2008.

“I have today been advised that Mr Mantach had in 2008 a liability for personal expenses to the Tasmanian division totalling $47,981.78, which was fully repaid by Mr Mantach to the division upon his departure in March of that year,” he said.

• John Hawkins in Comments: Did the Tasmanian Liberals not prosecute … because Mantach knew enough about Abetz, the Greens and the Exclusive Brethren to cause them all a great deal of grief? Mantach had to fess up in court over the connection between Libs and EB but Abetz – whose philosophy on life is also extreme right, in fact right of even Gungadin – never got a mention. I think this has legs especially as Abbott thinks Mantach is as pure and white and clean as driven snow. Did Abetz as the senior Tasmanian Liberal write Mantach a reference? I do hope so.

Rupert’s Courier-Mail says that despite Mr Page’s assertions … things were far from settled: … On a bad day for Mr Mantach, his Liberal Party email address was found in the leaked database from cheaters website Ashley Madison, though there is no evidence he specifically signed up to the site. It can be revealed: MR Mantach had to repay $48,000 to the Tasmanian Liberal Party after a dispute over his use of his corporate credit card on private expenditure while state director. NO Victorian MP knew of the Tasmanian repayment, and senior officials who appointed him in Victoria say they had been told only that there was a minor credit card discrepancy. OPEN warfare erupted within the Victorian Liberal Party, as MPs sheeting home the blame for Mr Mantach’s appointment to Brian Loughnane, the federal director and husband of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s chief-of-staff, Peta Credlin. …

Waleed Aly, The Age: Abbott is losing the plot in his war on environmentalists (where there is a great vid …)

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. William Boeder

    August 23, 2015 at 7:27 am

    #15. How about the fact that the Liberal party front-end expenses-rorting ministers were silly enough to trust the Liberal party back-room scorpions to be looking after the dodgy corporate-donated funds.
    What other scandalous beasties lay concealed under some sort of liberal inventive camouflage paint, (not unlike the Arthur Sinodinos chairmanship of Australia Water Holdings.)

    Old Arty was set for a fast $20 million by chasing up the Billion dollar contract that was going to be funded by the NSW taxpayers, this was the contract then up for grabs relating to the NSW State government projected…NSW Water Management contract.

    First bit of the racket is to invent something that should have a need to be looked after, say the huge task of managing all of NSW’s water, (irrespective to the fact that the water itself fell freely from up above the Skies of New South Wales.)
    The next part of the trick is to get a few NSW ministerial mates to push around a bit to organize a sign up of this beguilingly concocted contract.

    Easy Squeezy, this kind of innovative government plotting & planning is often referred to as the mark of a financial genius.
    (Of course that only applies if one is a Liberal party man of purchased influence.)

  2. Pete Godfrey

    August 21, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Another example of how our laws were written for the rich to help the rich.
    If you hang out with politicians or in big business the worst you will seemingly get is a slap on the wrist with a feather.
    If a normal pleb walked into a bank and said give me $48 thousand they would be in gaol for 20 years.
    When the family name is at risk and you are a friend of the political class, well Hush Hush is the term and pay it back please.
    We do need an enquiry into the Liberal party, especially the donations that are funnelled through funding companies and not registered.
    Then we could look at cover ups … that should have gone to the police. While we are at it we could look at how the Liberal party have protected pedophiles in churches over the years.
    Now that would make an interesting enquiry.

  3. Peter

    August 21, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    (in answer to Ben #16)

    ‘According to a speech on the issue during Thursday night’s Senate adjournment debate – under the cover of parliamentary privilege – the Labor senator Glenn Sterle questioned whether the Liberal party’s federal director Brian Loughnane – and possibly also the Liberals’ Senate leader, Eric Abetz – knew about the dispute involving Mantach during his time with the Tasmanian party, before he was appointed in Victoria.’

    “Reports suggest that senior figures with knowledge of alleged questionable conduct by Mr Mantach in Tasmania include Liberal party federal director Mr Brian Loughnane,” Sterle said.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/21/federal-chief-brian-loughnane-drawn-into-row-over-victorian-liberal-accused-of-theft

  4. Ben Lohberger

    August 21, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Wow, today’s newspapers reveal a tangled web.

    The Victorian Liberals are saying they had no idea about Mantach’s past because he was appointed as Victorian State Director by the Federal Libs.

    The Federal Libs are saying it was the Victorian Libs’ responsibility to check his references, even though they (the Feds) appointed him.

    The Tasmanian Liberals are saying they told the Victorian Libs about Mantach’s past, which the Victorian Libs deny.

    And the Tasmanian Liberals are also pretending they didn’t realize Mantach had been appointed as the Victorian State Director, even though it was announced at the time, which is the best they can do to ‘explain’ why they never mentioned his $48,000 liability ever again.

    Lol!

  5. Chris

    August 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    You have to HAND it to the Liberals , in WA they no longer will have the services of Mr Mantec, who assisted Abbott in 2013.
    Talk about cutting off your hand (or someones who is now dead) to support your cause seems illogical.
    Hastily they have parachuted in a candidate to contest the seat and because Abbott is on the nose the same result , as in Bass may not happen.
    Why the adherence to people whose past has involved violence eludes me, is it pugilistica dementia or just brain damage?

  6. Colin Gumley

    August 21, 2015 at 1:37 am

    All very interesting, great comments, opinions and questions now let’s hear the answers, surely not a heads in the sand, garbled rhetoric, mumbled response yet again, these need to be actioned ASAP. I shall wait in anticipation

  7. Dr.John R.Wilson

    August 20, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    I think I have a better understanding now why Premier Will Hodgman argued so strenuously only a few weeks ago against establishing a Tasmanian ICAC …

  8. Ben Lohberger

    August 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    So did the Tasmanian Liberals warn the Victorian & Federal Liberals about Mantach’s $48,000 “liability”?

    If they didn’t pass on a warning, why not?

    And if they did pass on a warning, why was Mantach subsequently appointed as the Victorian State Director?

  9. John Hawkins

    August 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Did the Liberals not prosecute … because Mantach knew enough about Abetz, the Greens and the Exclusive Brethren to cause them all a great deal of grief?

    Mantach had to fess up in court over the connection between Libs and EB but Abetz – whose philosophy on life is also extreme right, in fact right of even Gungadin – never got a mention.

    I think this has legs especially as Abbott thinks Mantach is as pure and white and clean as driven snow.

    Did Abetz as the senior Tasmanian Liberal write Mantach a reference?

    I do hope so.

  10. Peter

    August 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Mr Mantach, who was on a $200,000-a-year salary, allegedly used the money to pay his mortgage, fund his lifestyle and build a half-a-million dollar share portfolio, the Herald Sun reports.

    When asked about the alleged theft, his wife Jodie Mantach told the paper she no longer wants “anything to do with him”.

    http://mmc-news.com/news-damien-mantach-accused-of-stealing-15-million-from-liberal-party-120584.dbv

  11. phill Parsons

    August 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Here we see the essence of an old Tasmanian political party, the cover up. This must stretch back to the earliest colonial days when privilege was embedded.

    Looking at Dyson Heydon’s early life Wendy Bacon has dug up one of privilege, including a Rhodes scholarship. Now Christine Milne show that the pick of those 7 captains, the grooming for succession the little conservatives that will hold the course of privilege later, broke the rules by sending a pom [Abbott] to Oxford.

    Months later Abbott becomes a dual citizen. He is and his office are still is unable to show be is not in breach of Section 44 of the Australian Constitution since he was elected in 1994.

    Ahh, the Lieberals, the party of do what I say not what I do. It even annoys those that are on their side.

  12. Chris

    August 20, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Was the money from Victoria ( not the Queen) used to repay an invoice from Tasmania for a sum exceeding $48,000 , who ran Tabbott’s campaign in Victoria?
    Oh for a integrity commission with teeth in Tasmania!
    ANY TAKERS?

  13. Philip Lowe

    August 20, 2015 at 1:49 am

    I am unamazed about how many youngish Australians have never read ‘Power Without Glory’.Is it on any school syllabus?The same young Australians have never heard of George Gershwin either.A similar if not worse mentality exists in the UK amongst young people.This is how we are institutionaly ripped off.Feed ’em on bullshit and keep ’em in the dark.The mushroom mentality.
    Please watch out for the release of the ‘Chilcott Enquiry’ into the war in Iraq.Will Johnny Howard get a mention,or Andrew Wilkie?I know which one has the most to fear from this report.

  14. John Hawkins

    August 20, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Mantach allegedly took nearly $50,000 from the Libs in Tasmania which he has now apparently paid back – ABC tonight.

    Does anybody ever prosecute … or is there a protection racket run by those who hold the reigns of power in the Tasmanian Liberal Party …?

    Even if you haul crooks before the courts they get a small fine.

    We are extremely badly led by the third rate.

    Green the Leader of the Opposition has been before the courts three times; is this a qualification for high office?

    It is almost a badge of honour to have a questionable track record.

    What does it take to put some of these people behind bars?

    Misconduct in Public Office is not an offence in Tasmania for which these dregs of our society can be prosecuted.

    WHY?

  15. Simon Warriner

    August 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Given this, and Kathy Jackson (a liberal party stooge if ever there was one), and the Bronwyn’s so recently revealed, are those who say a parliament full of independents who understand and avoid conflicted interest are a recipe for disaster prepared to have another go at advancing their case?

    If the idiots did not run the country one could die laughing.

  16. Stephan

    August 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Oh my.

    What are those furry things poking their heads out of the port hole?

    What’s that bubbling sound coming from the hull?

    Now if, and it’s a mighty big if, the Labor party can get a cannonball or two in, the ship will definitely sink.

  17. john hayward

    August 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Damien seems the very paragon of the modern Abbott Liberal.

    Since they seem solidly embedded, let’s be thankful they’re so thick.

    John Hayward

  18. William Boeder

    August 19, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    … one must now wonder if a fanatically devout Tasmanian Liberal party mouth will go into the defence of this now rather tarnished emblem of Victoria’s Liberal faction, (Junta) as the alleged financial malefactor.
    It seems as only yesterday we had the noisome Eric supporting the Queen of Rorts who was considered to be warmly acceptable party colleagues despite her being a highly expensive serial offender.
    Any problems with the link regarding this event, this story now available via the the online Melbourne Age.

  19. Peter

    August 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    ‘As Liberal people sometimes remind us, if a political party can’t get its own house in order, how can it be trusted to manage the nation’s money?’

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/damien-mantach-questions-about-liberal-partys-handle-on-financial-management-20150820-gj3j55.html#ixzz3jK6dLp1X

  20. Russell

    August 19, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    There’s a lot of it going on. Why aren’t the Federal Police investigating every politician’s finances?

  21. Dr.John R.Wilson

    August 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Maybe a Royal Commission to investigate corruption in the Liberal Party is in order …

  22. John Hawkins

    August 19, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    The links that are of interest – Dirt Files – Exclusive Brethren – Abetz – Mantach – Tasmania.

    Christine Milne in the Senate nearly drew Extreme right Abetz into the cauldron.

    Google “Mantach Abetz”

  23. Karl Stevens

    August 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I wonder if the same thing could have happened (in Tasmania …)

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