News this week that the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has requested the Federal Court to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the identities of two key Operation Wickenby targets has a certain sense of irony.
Not only is their identity the world’s worst secret but the two targets, known only as P and A3, an offshore-based Australian with links to the film industry and his financial adviser, have been subject to criminal leaks of their personal tax affairs to the media by none other than the good officers from the ACC. The unfairness in all this is the ACC’s strict secrecy laws which prevent P and others from defending themselves against the leaked information.
A Crikey investigation has revealed that tensions in the prolonged and highly expensive litigation costing millions of taxpayer dollars against the famous Australian and his accountant boiled over recently.
“Settle or we will publicly name you”, the ACC barked to their opposition.
Key Wickenby stakeholders have labeled the panicky threat as blackmail: “It is a clumsy blackmail attempt because P refuses to let them off the hook for some funny business they have been up to.”
One of the reasons why the names have been suppressed by the court was a request from the ACC, justified by the reasoning that to reveal their names at that time would prejudice its “highly secretive” investigation.
Crikey understands that P is looking forward to having his pseudonym formally lifted and is champing at the bit to take the gloves off and engage in public debate which he has been prevented from doing so far.
Then ladies and gentleman it will be show time!