What are the key facts about the scandal that led to the ousting of Australian Opera boss James Packer?
The details of the alleged $2.7 million fraud that led the Australian Opera House to shut its doors in August have emerged, and we are now able to reveal that it involved a number of people in the organisation and even its board.
The details are contained in a joint report prepared by the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which was presented to the NSW Attorney-General last week.
The report contains damning evidence about the “inappropriate and/or criminal behaviour” of some of the senior executives and management at the Australian and New Zealand theatres.
The full report will be published on Friday.
The ABC has spoken to former AOA executive director Paul O’Brien about the allegations, and what it is like to be the victim of the “black art”.
Key points:The report details allegations that “black arts” of management and other senior executives at the AOA have “improperly sought to profit from their positions”, including by “sabotaging” investigations into AOA employeesThe report also alleges “impropriety” and “incompetence” within AOA managementThe report names former AAP CEO Paul Oram, former chairman and managing director of the Australian Theatre Authority, and AOA CEO James Packers son.
It also names former senior AOA executives including former chairman, CEO, and former director of operations James Packerman, former acting chairman and former general manager of the Sydney Opera House, and ex-chairman of the AAPA’s Sydney-based theatre division.
James Packers lawyer Michael Gee told the ABC the documents were “pretty damning” and said the report “is very serious stuff”.
“I think the report shows the real level of incompetence and criminality that was going on,” he said.
“The organisation was running an operation that was clearly not operating well, and that was being managed by some of those people.”
This is the kind of behaviour that will lead to prosecution.
“Mr O’Byrne, who was not present in the presentation, said he believed there was a “strong case” for prosecution in relation to the AOA, but the allegations would be “an appropriate time to make a decision” on whether to proceed.”
I believe that the evidence presented in this report is very strong and very significant, and there is a very strong case to go forward with, particularly with respect to the alleged fraud in relation the AOOA,” he told the broadcaster.
The AOA has confirmed it is cooperating with the investigation, and the company said it had “no evidence of any criminality”.
But the ABC understands the AIOA is also aware of the report’s findings and will be undertaking an internal review to determine how best to move forward.
Mr Packer said he was “not surprised” the allegations were “coming out now” but said he had been “cautious” about taking the matter to the authorities.”
There was a lot of speculation around what might have happened in relation of the theatre and I was very cautious about making any announcements until the report was released, but it has now been released,” he added.”
Obviously, I think we will have to take the appropriate actions and I certainly won’t be commenting on what that is at this stage.”AAP spokesman Michael Gees said the ABC’s “inaccurate and unfair” report had not been “the result of the most rigorous independent investigation” that had been conducted, and “that’s something that’s absolutely unacceptable”.”
This was an attempt to cover up a fraud that was occurring within the organisation, and it should never have happened,” he insisted.”
If the AOC was not functioning properly, the AOF would not have been able to close its doors, and people would not be working in this profession.