ASIC boss Chester refuses to back Frydenberg in stitch-up
Disgraced ASIC boss departs with $290,000 payments from the scandal that saw him ousted. That’s 58 “Cartier watches”. This morning Jo Longo, former head lawyer for corporate crook Alan Bond, slid his feet under the desk as the new head of Australia’s corporate crime watchdog. Anthony Klan reports…
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James Shipton has walked away as boss of the nation’s corporate regulator with $290,000 in benefits from the “relocation” payments scandal that cost him his job.
Shipton finished as Australian Securities and Investments Commission chair yesterday, just three years into his five-year term, following revelations in October that he had charged taxpayers $118,557 for his own personal “tax advice”.
Shipton, a former investment banker with globally notorious financier Goldman Sachs, was replaced today as ASIC chair by corporate lawyer Jo Longo.
Longo was once chief lawyer for Australia’s most infamous financial criminal Alan Bond and more recently has been Deutsche Bank’s general counsel for Britain and Europe, where the bank has repeatedly fallen foul of financial regulators.
In October last year, hours before he was forced to disclose the payments in ASIC’s annual report, Shipton said he would repay the $118,557 “tax advice” fee.
However ASIC also paid $78,226 fringe-benefits-tax on the payment – of which Shipton personally received 100% of the financial benefit.
Despite Shipton, ASIC, and the Federal Government all having repeatedly highlighted Shipton’s repayment of the $118,557, all have refused to comment when asked by The Klaxon whether the remaining $78,226 would also be recovered.
“There is nothing to add to what we have previously provided,” ASIC spokesman Gervese Green told us on Friday.
The Klaxon has repeatedly asked ASIC about whether the fringe-benefits-tax component of the Shipton “tax advice” payments and the corporate regulator – responsible for enforcing the law and preventing corruption – has repeatedly refused to answer.
On January 29 Frydenberg released a statement saying Shipton had “repaid the $118,557 paid by ASIC for tax advice” but made no reference to the remaining $78,226.
Shipton has also walked away with $210,000 for nothing as a result of the scandal.
Despite ASIC telling senate estimates that Shipton would “forgo his salary for the period of his leave of absence – in a move which was used to portray Shipton in a positive light – Shipton received his full salary for the period.
Literal fake news: January media reports claiming ASIC review “cleared” Shipton of wrongdoing. Source: Supplied
He was off for fourteen weeks, just over three months, from October 23 to February 1.
Shipton’s annual salary rate for 2020-21 was $775,910, meaning he pocketed $208,900 for doing nothing in the period.
With the fringe-benefits-tax amount Shipton has pocketed $287,100 from the scandal.
Hours before the ASIC scandal became public, Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacked Australia Post CEO Christina Holgate in parliament over four luxury Cartier watches she had – legally and appropriately – given to four staff members as bonuses.
Holgate, unlike Shipton, was later found to have engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever.
Holgate stood down immediately as Australia Post CEO, and unlike Shipton did not continue to be paid.
Shipton’s $287,100 is the equivalent of 58 Cartier watches, based on the $5,000 average price paid for the four watches legally purchased by Holgate.
The Treasurer has never released Thom’s actual report, which Thom completed and filed with the Federal Government on December 17.
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the government body responsible for auditing ASIC’s accounts, has specifically found $118,557 Shipton charged taxpayers to receive to personal “tax advice” was over 60 times the legal limit.
On January 29 Frydenberg said Shipton “will be paid for that time that he was on leave” and “that is appropriate in light of the findings and the fact that that was a voluntary decision that he took at that time”.
“I hold myself to the highest possible standard,” Shipton said when he stood down in October.
“What matters is that I act with integrity and honour.”
More to come….
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