CFMEU rejects official’s criminal charges

by Nicola Middlemiss04 Nov 2015
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has rejected a call for its NSW official Darren Greenfield to face criminal charges for bribery.

In a submission to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption,  the union rejected the commission barrister’s request that Greenfield face the charges.

According to media reports, counsel assisting asked the royal commissioner, Dyson Heydon, to consider recommending the charges in relation to bribes he allegedly accepted from construction ‘underworld’ figure, George Alex.

“The appropriate ultimate finding is that Mr Greenfield and Mr Alex may have committed offences under section 249B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW),” the counsel assisting submission reportedly said.

The CFMEU’s responding submission said that the finding “is not warranted on the evidence and ought to be declined”.

“[T]here are fatal errors in the underlying submissions of counsel assisting concerning the facts and conclusions which are urged upon the royal commission,” it read.

According to Fairfax Media, the union’s submission goes on to say that the counsel assisting’s submission contradicts oral evidence, and is based on a circumstantial case against Greenfield.

The CMFEU claimed that the case is based around text messages “which are inconsistent with the context provided by surrounding text messages”.

The commission heard evidence that Greenfield accepted ongoing payments of $2,500 from Alex.

The CMFEU argued that if these payments – which were officially recorded as union payments or union fees – would have been “hidden rather than recorded” if they were corrupt.

“It bespeaks a conscious attempt to describe as a union fee something which was not, in fact, a union fee,” its submission asserted.

It was also suggested that the payments may have been intended for Alex’s business partner, Joe Antoun, who later passed away.


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