“At no point of time was Mr. Lay asked to give sworn evidence against Mr. Vizard.”

This
is the sensational new evidence obtained by Crikey. It shows that the
Vizard insider trading matter is not over. On the basis of this
evidence, Vizard can and should be prosecuted. In addition, there is
serious collateral damage to Commonwealth DPP Damian Bugg and ASIC
Chairman Jeffrey Lucy. Both these men should be moving (or moved) on.

Vizard
was never charged with criminal offences for his admitted insider
trading and use of confidential information obtained when he was a
director of Telstra. Instead, he was simply proceeded against by a soft
“civil prosecution” (read slapped on the wrist).

Both the DPP
and ASIC (through Bugg and Lucy) led everyone to believe that the
decision not to prosecute was based upon the refusal by the central
witness, Greg Lay, to sign a witness statement he had made. It was
inferred that Lay was a hostile witness and would refuse to give
evidence. Lay was Vizard’s accountant and the man who carried out his
orders to implement the insider trading.

Lay’s longtime legal
advisor, Graham Lederman of Melbourne solicitors Ledermans, has written
to Crikey disputing this (see below). In fact, Lay’s lawyer claims he was always a willing
witness against Vizard – he was just never asked if he would give
evidence.

I cannot stress this strongly enough. The ASIC
investigators took a statement from Lay which he refused to sign (on
legal advice). According Lay’s lawyer they then walked away from him without ever asking him
if he would give evidence. Disgraceful.

In a letter to Crikey
dated 20 June 2006, Lederman exposes this investigation for the sham it
was (see below for the full letter). Lederman says:

We have acted for Mr Lay for many years, including in relation to all matters directly and indirectly connected with Mr Vizard…

Mr Lay had never previously agreed to sign a Witness Statement in relation to Mr Vizard…

We
are able to state categorically, both on our instructions and on our
own personal knowledge, that at no stage did Mr Lay refuse to testify
against Mr Vizard. The simple truth is that – notwithstanding the
relevant publicity associated with public statements by personnel of
the Australian Securities and Commission and by Mr Damian Bugg [DPP] –
at no point of time was Mr Lay asked to give sworn evidence against Mr
Vizard, nor was he ever served with a subpoena to do so.

Lederman then went on to reject the inference that Lay “had refused to cooperate with the authorities”.

The
next step is simple. On the basis of this letter, ASIC must now ask Mr
Lay to give sworn evidence against Mr Vizard and “cooperate with the
authorities”. On being told yes, Vizard must be criminally prosecuted.

Peter Fray

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