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Australia Former WA trade commissioner who fleeced half-a-million from taxpayers won't be charged

01:55  04 november  2019
01:55  04 november  2019 Source:   watoday.com.au

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a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Former WA Japan trade commissioner Craig Peacock.© Internet. Former WA Japan trade commissioner Craig Peacock.

WA's former trade commissioner to Japan will not be charged by police despite extraordinary allegations levelled at him by the Corruption and Crime Commission that he misused his position to pocket more than half a million dollars of taxpayer funds.

Craig Peacock, who was subject to the long-running CCC investigation that has Parliament locked in a bitter legal dispute with the government and the corruption watchdog, agreed to pay back $540,000 after reaching an out-of-court settlement.

A CCC report found Mr Peacock enriched himself to the tune of $500,000 by double-dipping on cost of living allowance claims, reimbursed $65,000 worth of costs he was not entitled to, misused his passport, crashed his state-leased car while intoxicated, destroyed a computer hard drive and wined and dined friends at the state's expense.

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But because the conduct occurred in Japan, he is beyond the reach of the law.

A spokesman for WA Police said they would not be charging Mr Peacock "due to the location of this incident".

"As there is no element of the offence having occurred in WA, WA Police Force will not be undertaking any further action," he said.

In March, after the CCC report was tabled in the Parliament, Premier Mark McGowan said the corruption watchdog had "shone a light on corrupt and fraudulent behaviour that went undetected for years".

“Mr Peacock was highly trusted by many Premiers, ministers and MPs over a number of years – personally I am deeply shocked by the revelations," Mr McGowan said in the press release.

“The conduct of this former public officer is appalling and I expect all legal options will be explored, including by WA Police."

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Earlier this week, Attorney General John Quigley said Mr Peacock had not yet paid any money to the government after he had not sold an apartment in Japan.

He said a default judgment of $680,000 was entered against Mr Peacock when he failed to pay and he would have until December 8 to make good.

"We were getting different reasons why it hadn't been sold but we have sent agents around there and the property is definitely on the market," Mr Quigley said.

"We're told that it is worth, our agents say it's worth a bit more than what he's said.

"We're just waiting till December 8 and if there's no money then the state solicitor is going to execute for the $680,000.

"It's not going to be easy because we're going to have to instruct Japanese lawyers ... but we moved as quickly as we could even before we told the public to get these freezing orders, lickety split."

Mr Peacock, who was WA's commissioner to Japan from 2002, was fired in February after he was stood down in December, 2018.

A Corruption and Crime Commission spokeswoman said their role in the saga had ended.

"The commission delivered its report on the WA Commissioner in Japan on March 12 following a significant and complex investigation, and fulfilling its responsibility to parliament and the community," she said.

"The commission is not a prosecuting authority and, while it assists such authorities as and when required, whether or not to prosecute is a matter for those authorities."

The state government did not answer questions regarding WA Police's call not to charge Mr Peacock.

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