Word reached the Crikey bunker this morning that Steve Vizard is not just enjoying a European cruise with his wife and five children. The lad is also holidaying with one of his closest mates, former AFL star turned celebrity stockbroker and bookmaker Simon Beasley, who was a regular with Vizard in the 1990s at his Port Douglas cliff-top hideaway.

We called Beasley’s betting shop this morning and were told he is “overseas.” Asked if he is holidaying with Steve Vizard, the woman ummed and ahhed and then consulted with a colleague before declining to comment, although she said he was expected back on Wednesday morning.

That would be just in time for Vizard’s scheduled court appearance next Thursday, although there are now media reports that Vizard is cutting short his vacation and returning to Australia this weekend.

Vizard really is a hard man to pin down. When his PR man, Mike Smith, was interviewed by ABC Victoria’s Virginia Trioli last week, he would only say that they’ve been friends for ten years and Vizard was on the advisory board of his firm, Inside PR. Yet The Age’s corporate sleuth David “Ziggy” Elias reported last week that Vizard’s long time lawyer and former Artist Services finance director Shaun Levin owns 48 of 120 shares in the company. Smith’s line that Vizard has “no commercial interest in the company” is technically true but also potentially misleading.

We had a similar experience this morning on being reliably informed by a former Vizard associate that he owned 40% of Cornerbox Pty Ltd, the Melbourne-based company that has received big whacks from Telstra’s Sensis division to produce Bread TV on Channel Ten.

On ringing Cornerbox we were told this was wrong and that Vizard was merely “a consultant,” which still raises questions because it’s an example of the lad milking more cash out of Telstra, the very company he betrayed by insider trading. Surely Telstra should have blackbanned Vizard after learning what he did.

This notion that Vizard clips the ticket on everything that moves in the arts world appears strangely true. Don’t forget his interest in the talent agency that handled Douglas Wood’s dealings with Ten. Mike Smith may claim he’s had two hellish years under the glare of ASIC, but he clearly has still found time to do a stream of deals.

The woman at Cornerbox would give no more details but then referred us to Mike Smith, who you have to feel a little bit sorry for given the way Vizard’s world has unravelled. Smith was right when he told Trioli last week that “some wickets don’t take spin,” although Terry McCrann’s suggestion today – of pleading guilty to a criminal charge – would probably have been a better option in hindsight.

Peter Fray

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