Steve Vizard’s recent campaign for redemption by media has hit a serious snag this
morning with the news that the banned
company director could face criminal charges, after police interviewed him yesterday
about alleged discrepancies in evidence he gave at Magistrates
Court in 2003 and the
Federal Court last year.

The ABC radio reports, which have quickly spread to the papers,
say that the police investigation is focusing on his statement under oath at
the 2003 hearing that he had not been involved in illegal trading in telco shares while he was a director of Telstra.

Two years later, however, Vizard accepted a charge by ASIC
that he had abused his position as a Telstra director and, last July, was fined
$390,000 and banned by the Federal Court from being a company director for ten
years.

And while Vizard has denied knowledge of any new
investigations
(in fact, his busy PR man Mike Smith has told reporters that Vizard initiated
the talks with police), today’s unwelcome news interrupts a concerted positive spin campaign
to resurrect the former TV and arts identity via the media.

Here’s a list of the efforts so far:

10 December 2005:
A feature in The
Oz
‘s Weekend Magazine – “Vizard could have won” – portrays a seemingly
contrite Vizard, who “talks of his regrets and his future”. The article also suggests that the
former TV comedian had only done a deal with ASIC to save his family from a
drawn-out legal case. “If he didn’t have kids and a family, he would have
fought it without a doubt,” one of his advisors told reporter Kate Legge, “but
every piece of advice he had was that this was a civil contravention. It’s
minimalist.”

14 December 2005:
“‘Action hero’ Vizard tackles burglar.” Papers around Australia
report that the disgraced businessman now has a new moniker after grappling
with a burglar who had been in his teenage daughter’s bedroom.

21 April 2006: Crikey reports that Vizard has been in
talks with old friend Steve Dundon, head of TV prodcution company
Cornerbox, about “getting his face back on TV”.


8 May 2006:
Vizard reprises his 1990’s Fast Forward gay flight
attendant role with comedian Michael Veitch in a surprise appearance at this
year’s Logies awards. The skit touched on the lighter side of insider
trading dalliances and ended with Vizard giving a “self-acknowledging wink at the presenters
who followed.”


28 May 2006:
Appears in the Fairfax
papers
, again in connection to Cornerbox – producers of new
Network Ten comedy The Wedge – where Vizard is reported to have a new role as “mentor (to) the younger players and oversee(ing) the creative
process.”

2 June 2006: Appears on The
Age
‘s back page
after being spotted “having a pleasant social
lunch” with 3AW Radio host Neil Mitchell.

5 June 2006: The Herald
Sun
reports
seeing “The Big V” marching into a board room meeting at
Funtastic Ltd, a public company that claims to be the biggest distributor of
kids’ stuff in the country.

Peter Fray

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