Seven West Media has not taken news of the Tim Worner/Amber Harrison situation with calm and sober reflection, so it was no surprise Crikey received an angry letter from Seven’s lawyers after publishing this story on Friday.

But accounting giant Deloitte also strongly objected to the publication of an 18-page document provided by Amber Harrison, which included letters between Seven and Deloitte, as well as a series of graphs outlining the credit card spending of various Seven executives. Deloitte says it did not create the document, which might have come from Seven. 

Crikey immediately took the link down, but it later became apparent that neither Seven nor Deloitte were contesting the accuracy of the material, just that it wasn’t “the Deloitte report” as had been presented by the partners in the forensic accounting division when they were called in to look at Amber Harrison’s credit card spending.

The 18-page document in question is not fake news; Deloitte is just asserting that it didn’t produce it in that format.

[Ex-Seven PA investigated after affair with CEO Tim Worner]

I passed the correspondence from both Seven’s lawyers and Deloitte on to Amber Harrison, who responded by penning a detailed email to the Deloitte crew. Here are some extracts.

I appreciate Deloitte is deeply concerned about the publication of a document it does not believe it is responsible for. Just imagine for a moment how deeply concerning it is to be falsely accused of approximately $260,000 of unauthorised personal expenditure on corporate cards by Bruce McWilliam on the basis of a Deloitte report he commissioned from you on 1 August 2014. 

I have few questions for you about the Deloitte Report… 

Why didn’t Deloitte’s “forensic” investigation team complete the most simple of cross reference checks?  On November 20 2014 when I was able to access a diary associated with the cards the amount of $71,806.23 was established as legitimate. This cross checking process took me all of 30 minutes. How did you miss that? 

Why wasn’t I interviewed? Isn’t that just common practice of any investigation? Interviewing all involved? I note you interviewed several other staff members at Seven at the time to reach your wide ranging conclusions. Only one of the people you interviewed was directly involved in my day to day work life. 

After repeated requests for invoices and supporting documentation from Seven, I was finally granted access to my expense records and emails at your Sydney office on January 15, 16, 28, 29 of 2015 — 2 months after being made redundant. Across this tortuous 4 days, I was able to retrieve approximately 300 invoices and emails that also support the legitimacy of hundreds of spends — approximately $130,000 worth. 

Do external people you’ve investigated usually have to come to a Deloitte office and run their own investigation when the accuracy of Deloitte’s work is in question? 

When Deloitte produces a report accusing someone of a criminal offence punishable by 10 years jail (a fact Seven threatened me with in writing 4 times) isn’t it fair to say Deloitte should be confident the numbers in the report are right? Does Deloitte still stand by the report? 

I have in my possession Deloitte’s full report dated 25 September 2014, a summary report dated 9 September 2014 and an extract of Supplemental Report dated 24 September.

These were given to me in December 2014 by Seven’s legal representatives Johnson Winter Slattery. If you deny the Executive Management and EA Corporate Credit Card Spends graphs were part of the Deloitte report dated 25 September as presented to me, and you are now directing enquires relating to the highly confidential graphs to Bruce McWilliam, the only reasonable conclusion that can be made is that someone at Seven included the most highly confidential credit card spends in the entire company in your report – and sent them to me. 

Because if they are not your graphs, they are from Seven. Is that correct? 

I’ve been under investigation by Seven for two and a half years. I haven’t worked at Seven since 1 August 2014. No police report has ever been filed. 

To allow you to see that the graphs published by media outlets as your work are clearly positioned as part of the Deloitte report I am available to attend your Melbourne office with the complete folder for you to review. 

While I am there, I would like the opportunity to respond to your report in person, an opportunity your highly skilled forensic investigation team never gave me when it prepared your report and tabled it as a fait accompli. 

Amber Harrison 

Given what she has been through, Amber Harrison has every right to be heard. Deloitte should take up this opportunity and invite her in for a long overdue briefing. Legal firm Allens should perhaps attend the same meeting before completing its “independent” investigation into the Worner scandal, and it might help if some of the independent Seven West Media directors also met with Harrison before deciding to “bat on” against her.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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