ASIC interviewing CBA's Ian Narev, Catherine Livingstone
Patrick DurkinBOSS Deputy Editor
Updated Mar 5, 2019 — 1.17pm, first published at Mar 4, 2019 — 11.45pm
Commonwealth Bank of Australia's top bankers and directors are being interviewed by the corporate regulator as it moves closer to launching a landmark case against the bank and its board alleging breaches of directors duties and continuous disclosure.
Former CEO Ian Narev and chairman Catherine Livingstone are among the serving and former bank executives and directors the regulator has issued notices to interview, plans to interview or has recently questioned.
"CBA continues to engage with ASIC regarding a number of matters and responds to requests made by the regulator. We won't be commenting on any individual matter," a CBA spokesman said on Monday.
Current Time 3:55
Commonwealth Bank chairman Catherine Livingstone makes a statement to the Royal Commission admitting at the 2016 board meeting, she believed management did not have the capacity to respond to the AUSTRAC control challenge.
The case relates to the board's response to AUSTRAC warnings in 2016 that the bank was being used for money laundering and knowingly failed to disclose the breaches or adequately respond.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigations have been afoot since mid-2017 when former ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft confirmed the potential case, which would rival the James Hardie and Centro cases in creating shockwaves for boards.
May 18Jul 18Apr 1967.0069.0071.0073.0075.00
Updated: May 16, 2019 — 6.50pm
View CBA related articles
CBA case fast-tracked
However, sources confirmed the ASIC investigation had been fast-tracked in recent weeks as ASIC steps up its "litigate first" strategy, with the bank producing thousands of documents as the CBA investigation is prioritised ahead of more than 40 ASIC cases in the pipeline after the Hayne royal commission.
Ms Livingstone was questioned about the board's knowledge and its response as a witness at the royal commission. The scandal led to a review by the prudential regulator in May that found the CBA board failed to challenge management strongly enough and had a "light hand on the tiller".
Ms Livingstone – who joined the CBA board in only March 2016 and replaced former chairman David Turner in 2017 – told Commissioner Kenneth Hayne the board's response was not fast or strong enough, despite claiming AUSTRAC's decision to launch action came as a surprise.
"There were always responses [from management], 'Yes we're doing this, yes, we're spending that money'," Ms Livingstone told the commission. "So those responses were taken as assurance that the issue was being addressed but I absolutely accept that was an inadequate conclusion on the part of the audit committee and the board."
Board named in class actions
The scandal ultimately triggered the departure of Mr Narev and a shake-up of the board by September 2017, with directors Harrison Young, Launa Inman and Andrew Mohl among those departing.
The bank is already defending two class actions in relation to allegations by Maurice Blackburn and Slater and Gordon breakaway firm Phi Finney McDonald, with those cases coming before the Federal Court in Sydney on Monday to determine how they proceed.
CBA's share price fell more than 5 per cent on August 3, 2017, after AUSTRAC launched its case alleging more than 53,000 violations of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act in a case that settled in June for $702.5 million.
Those named in the class action cases include Mr Narev and two former chief risk officers, Alden Toevs and David Cohen, now CBA's deputy CEO, as well as non-executive directors and the current and former chairmen Ms Livingstone and Mr Turner.
CBA chairman Catherine Livingstone (with former chair David Turner inset) are among the serving and former bank executives and directors of interest to ASIC.
Others on the board at that time included Brian Long and Jane Hemstritch, as well as current CBA directors Sir David Higgins and Wendy Stops.
"The bank knew about AUSTRAC's investigation for two years," Phi Finney McDonald class action lawyers said.
Mr Narev has previously argued that the bank was constantly flooded with regulatory requests and if it disclosed everything, the market would be overwhelmed and confused.
"All major financial institutions have a raft of notices from very active regulators, as you would hope they would, and you simply can't make disclosure every time you get notices from regulators or you would be making disclosures every day," Mr Narev said after CBA's full-year profit result in 2017.
CBA board at the the AGM in November 2018.
"Our view would be these things didn't come anywhere near it in the form they came at the time."
Former CBA CEO Ian Narev and David Turner are both of interest to the ASIC investigation. Stefan Gosatti
CBA chairman Catherine Livingstone took over from David Turner in 2017. Stefan Gosatti
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May 16, 2019 Topic: Politics Region: Americas Tags: Justice DepartmentWilliam BarrRussiaPoliticsMueller Report
The Justice Department Goes All-In on Origins of Russia Probe
The District Attorney for Connecticut, John Durham, becomes the latest federal prosecutor to look into the handling of the Trump-Russia investigation.
by Hunter DeRensis
Add one more investigation to the list. Monday evening it was announced that Attorney General William Barr had selected John Durham, district attorney for Connecticut, to head an investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. The nearly seventy-year-old Durham has a long history of exposing abuses inside the National Security State, including the protection of crime boss Whitey Bulger by his FBI handlers and the CIA’s destruction of tapes featuring torture during interrogations. Durham will be working separately but in parallel to Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, who is looking into political bias, and District Attorney for Utah John W. Huber, who is doing his own independent investigation.
The primary goal of Durham’s investigation will be to examine FBI spying on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. As previously detailed in the National Interest, in October of that year the FBI used raw intelligence to obtain a FISA warrant on campaign associate Carter Page, which then allowed them to collect information on the wider campaign. The attorney general came under fire for using the term “spying” to describe the surveillance of the Trump campaign but remained adamant that it was an accurate description. “My first job was in CIA, and I don’t think the word ‘spying’ has any pejorative connotation at all. To me the question is always whether or not it’s authorized and adequately predicated,” Barr told Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RH).
Beyond campaign surveillance, it’s hoped by many longtime skeptics of the Trump-Russia espionage narrative that Durham will be able to track down just where the conspiracy began to percolate. He’ll have to accomplish this with limited powers, lacking much of the independence and discretion of a Special Counsel like Robert Mueller.
Do You Know What Happened Today In History?
The narrative as it stands is that George Papadopoulos, a mid-level foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, made the acquaintance of Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud in March 2016 while in Rome. Presenting himself a man with numerous contacts to the Russian government, Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to a woman he claimed to be Vladimir Putin’s niece (she wasn’t) and a man he claimed was with the Russian Foreign Ministry. In late April, Mifsud informed Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” The Mueller Report claims that Russian military intelligence (GRU) hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails in the two weeks prior to Mifsud sharing this information, while others speculate that Mifsud was referencing the over thirty thousand emails deleted on Clinton’s private server while she was Secretary of State. In early May, Papadopoulos, while drinking at a bar, shared this information with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who then passed it on to his own government, who then informed U.S. authorities about the illicit connection. The FBI officially opened their probe in late July, while Papadopoulos has since denied he ever discussed the topic with Downer.
Mifsud is a mysterious figure with numerous foreign connections. The Mueller Report mentions his relationships to multiple Russian figures, including a former employee of the Internet Research Agency, but the names and precise details are redacted. Mifsud is also ingrained in Western intelligence. Claire Smith, of the United Kingdom’s Joint Intelligence Committee, worked alongside Mifsud while training Italian security forces. In February 2017 Mifsud was a featured speaker for a meeting of Global Ties, a nonprofit partner of the U.S. State Department. The Maltese professor claimed he was interviewed by the FBI that February while in the United States, a claim the FBI has never verified. In fall 2017, Joseph Mifsud disappeared and his whereabouts have not been confirmed since. The Daily Caller reported in fall 2018 that Mifsud was indeed alive and living somewhere under a false identity.
Other discretions have led to speculation among the president’s supporters. Stefan Halper, a former CIA official who in 1980 acted as a spy for the Reagan campaign on the Carter administration, was in London during the summer and fall of 2016. He had interactions with multiple Trump campaign officials, including George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and Sam Clovis. His service as an FBI informant began in early July 2016, weeks before the official opening of the investigation. Halper is a close associate of the intelligence firm Hakluyt & Co., where Alexander Downer is a director. Both Downer and Halper are associates of Richard Dearlove, the former head of British Intelligence (MI6); Halper and Dearlove even taught a class together at Cambridge University. In fall 2016, when putting together his raw intelligence dossier on Donald Trump, former MI6 officer Christopher Steele sought counsel from Dearlove.
Furthermore, in August 2017, Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS (the intelligence firm that acted as an intermediary between Christopher Steele and his financiers), testified in a closed session of the Senate Judiciary Committee. During his under-oath testimony, Simpson said:
Essentially, what [Christopher Steele] told me was [the FBI] had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source, and that—that they—my understanding was that they believed Chris at this point—that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing, and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump campaign.
A “human source from inside the Trump campaign” would refer to a spy, possibly connected to a western intelligence agency. This testimony stood on the record until it was publicly revealed in January 2018, when Simpson said he had “mischaracterized” what Steele had told him and there was no human source. Prosecutor and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy suspects Simpson’s original testimony may in fact be accurate.
President Trump’s supporters see this litany of secretive individuals with incestuous connections to U.S. and British intelligence services and are filled with suspicion. Some theorize of a plot to strangle Donald Trump’s insurgent presidential campaign while still in its crib. Others pour water on this kind of dot-connecting.
“I don’t think the investigation is a good idea. It will not show wrongdoing by the intelligence community,” said John E. McLaughlin, former deputy director of Central Intelligence. “I think it will show there was sufficient information to justify a probe to find out what if anything was going on; probes like this are not done to establish guilt; they are done to find out if there is anything worth pursuing further.”
While McLaughlin believes the new investigation is unnecessary, he praised Barr’s choice of personnel. “John Durham is a solid professional and non-political investigator. The whole thing has the feel of people in the administration wanting to tell the boss that something is being done to respond to his obsession—but with the expectation that it will not in the end support his conspiracy theory. In the meantime, it allows Trump to crow about it,” he told the National Interest.
Hunter DeRensis is a reporter at the National Interest.
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Julia Gillard, Alexander Downer, and Pelosi/Newsom's PACs.
At the end of a bruising week Donald Trump was determined to land the last blow. Just as Washington was winding down for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the president granted William Barr, his attorney-general, powers to review and release any government classified files relating to the surveillance of his 2016 campaign.
Flexing his presidential muscles, on Thursday evening Trump ordered the intelligence community to co-operate “quickly and fully” with Barr’s review into Russian election interference.
To the delight of Trump’s supporters and dismay of his detractors, the investigation is now turning on the investigators themselves. How did their Barack Obama-era inquiry begin?
While Trump has long claimed his campaign was the victim of unlawful spying, the FBI maintains that nothing improper took place.
By Robert BarwickAfter more than a year of so-called “Russiagate” hyste-ria failing to find evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s election campaign and the Russian government, a new, “credible” source of proof has suddenly emerged—Australia. The New York Times broke the story on 30 De-cember that Australian diplomat Alexander Downer’s May 2016 encounter with a Trump campaign booster in Lon-don was the source of the claim that Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails in collusion with the Trump cam-paign, which led the FBI to open the investigation in July 2016 that has dogged Trump throughout his short presi-dency. The involvement of Alexander Downer, however, destroys all credibility of this newly-revealed “evidence”. The former Australian foreign minister is deeply embed-ded in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), which has fabricated the key claims of Russian collusion in order to sabotage Donald Trump’s efforts to improve US-Russian relations, the greatest loser from which would be the UK’s imperial, pro-war Crown Establishment.The essence of the story is that in May 2016, Austra-lia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alexan-der Downer, then 65, arranged drinks with 28-year-old Trump campaign associate George Papadopoulos at Lon-don’s exclusive Kensington Wine Rooms, during which Papadopoulos boasted to Downer that Russia had thou-sands of hacked Hillary Clinton emails that would dam-age her campaign. After WikiLeaks released Hillary Clin-ton’s emails in July 2016, Downer reported his encounter with Papadopoulos in a cable to Canberra, which passed the information on to US authorities. The New York Times emphasised the importance of Aus-tralia being the source of the claims that provoked the FBI investigation. “It was not, as Mr Trump and other politi-cians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign”, the Times reported. “In-stead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.” It is significant that the so-called newspaper of record, the New York Times, failed to properly identify Alexander Downer, referring to him first as Australia’s “top” diplo-mat in Britain, and then only as an Australian diplomat. That is either the height of ignorance, or intentional un-derstatement to make the story more plausible. Downer is in fact Australia’s longest-serving foreign minister and a former leader of the Liberal Party, one of Australia’s two major parties; the flamboyant Downer once posed for a publicity photo wearing fishnet stockings—an image that stuck with him for the rest of his career. As foreign minis-ter in the Howard government, Downer was on the glob-al front lines of the biggest foreign policy issue of the 21st century, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, helping to make the fraudulent case for the Iraq war on the international stage. Through his efforts he doubtless ingratiated himself to the string-pullers of the British and American intelligence community who drove the war agenda. Downer’s pres-ent post of High Commissioner to London is the equiva-lent of Ambassador.It is therefore curious that a dignitary of Downer’s stand-ing would be wining a 28 year-old upstart attached to the Trump campaign, something the media coverage seems desperate to downplay. Following up the story for an Aus-tralian audience, who would find it curious, the 5 Janu-ary Sydney Morning Herald reported telling details that it tried to spin as normal. SMH reporter David Wroe de-scribed Papadopoulos meeting a young woman in Lon-don who “happened to know” Downer as a “chance” en-counter, except there was nothing chance about it. The New York Times had already revealed that an Israeli Em-bassy official had introduced Papadopoulos to the wom-an, who was in fact another Australian diplomat, i.e. she worked for Downer. According to Wroe, the young wom-an told Downer about Papadopoulos, and Downer, “be-ing a canny diplomat”, arranged to meet him. To down-play all of this as run-of-the-mill, Wroe quoted Peter Jen-nings of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, perhaps Alexander Downer, seen here posing in his fishnet stockings and leopard print high heels in the 1990s, is reported as the credible source who confirms Trump’s collusion with Russia, but he is an agent of British intelligence, which on behalf of the British Establishment has directed a Five Eyes intelligence operation to derail the prospect of improved US-Russia relations. Source: Screen shot.
8Australian Alert Service 10 January 2018Vol. 20 No. 1-2www.cecaust.com.auAustralia’s most rabid neocon warmonger, who advocates Australia’s participation in every possible Anglo-American war provocation against Russia and China and who appears to be on familiar terms with Downer: “Alexander was doing what a High Commissioner should do, finding pathways into the campaign team”, Jennings said. Downer is not just the High Commissioner and a former foreign minister, however. He is deeply connected into Brit-ish intelligence. As foreign minister he had been in charge of Australia’s MI6, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). ASIS agents, who are usually recruited from the dip-lomatic corps, where indeed Downer started his career, are known to refer to Canberra as “home office” and MI6 head-quarters in London as “head office”. ASIS and Australia’s oth-er intelligence agencies are part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance with the UK, USA, New Zealand and Cana-da; the popularised terms “deep state” and “secret state” re-fer to these interconnected intelligence agencies. After leaving politics, Downer stayed involved in this intelligence world. In 2008 he joined the advisory board of secretive British firm Hakluyt & Co., a private intelligence company founded by “former” officers of MI6. This is a similar operation to Orbis Business Intelligence, the firm founded by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, who fabricated the discredited Trump dos-sier for the Clinton campaign which the NYT is now keen to claim did not trigger the FBI investigation. Downer resigned from Hakluyt & Co. when he was appointed High Commis-sioner in 2014, but has continued to attend group functions. Today the international advisory board of Hakluyt & Co. in-cludes Sir Iain Lobban, the former director of GCHQ, the UK’s top and most secretive intelligence agency.The real story of Russiagate is not Russian interference in the US election, but British interference, through the British intelligence operation aimed at Trump. Ever since WWII, Brit-ish strategy has hinged upon its “special relationship” with the USA, which to the imperial geopolitical mindset of the British elite depends upon an adversarial relationship between the USA and Russia (previously the USSR). From the outset of his campaign, Trump expressed a desire to change that adversar-ial relationship, in order to reduce the danger of war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.Russiagate has revealed that as Trump emerged as a seri-ous contender for the presidency, British intelligence mobil-ised an operation to derail the possibility of Trump achieving closer US-Russia relations. The timing of Downer’s approach to Papadopoulos confirms it is part of that operation. He ar-ranged the meeting just as Trump was sewing up the Repub-lican Party nomination, and a few days after Papadopoulos, on behalf of the Trump campaign, had attracted attention in London from a clumsy interview with the 4 May 2016 Lon-don Times, which generated the headline that Trump was a risk to the US-UK “special relationship”.‘Russiagate’ conspiracy unravelsBy Elisa BarwickThe plan to prevent US President Donald Trump from governing by embroiling the White House in the scan-dal known as Russiagate, is unravelling. The plan was al-ways aimed at preventing the USA re-establishing coop-eration with Russia, which together with US-China coop-eration could lead to a three-way collaboration between the world’s leading nuclear powers, allowing a new glob-al economic and strategic framework to develop, poten-tially spelling the end of a century of geopolitical manip-ulation and war.While Russiagate refers to purported collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Kremlin to bring about a Trump presidency, the real story is now be-ginning to emerge. Under the guidance of President Barack Obama’s National Intelligence director James Clapper, FBI chief James Comey and CIA Director John Brennan, a cabal intersecting all three agencies and the US Department of Justice acted to prevent Trump’s election and to create an “insurance policy”—a ready-made scandal to be pulled off the shelf in the unlikely event he was elected. That British authorities tipped off US agencies to the so-called Russian interference in the 2016 election and that former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele wrote the “dodgy dossier” presenting Trump’s alleged indiscretions and dealings in Russia, indicates the seminal role of British intelligence, in particular Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) which oversees the entire Five Eyes intelligence- sharing alliance. (AAS, 22 Nov. 2017 “Evidence piles up: British Intelligence launched Russiagate”.)As International Schiller Institute Chairwoman, Helga Zepp-LaRouche told a webcast audience on 4 January, “The real story here is not that Russia was colluding with the Trump campaign; the real scandal, which all these question marks lead to, is if it turns out that the Obama ad-ministration colluded with British intelligence and the Hill-ary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Com-mittee (DNC), in order to con-spire against an opponent candi-date and after he won the election, against an elect-ed President. That is a scandal which could totally dwarf the Watergate scandal and this is now the break-ing story.”The Mueller in-vestigation is a key part of the scan-dal. Former FBI director Robert Mueller was ap-pointed special prosecutor by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the alleged Russian interference. AASdocumented in the 11 October Washington Insider that Mueller is a hit man for the Anglo-American Establish-ment, his crimes including the cover-up of the Saudi role in the 9/11 terrorist attack.Other key players in the anti-Trump cabal were Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, top FBI counterintelligence official and chief Russiagate investigator Peter Strzok, and Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. Ohr and his wife Nellie had previously worked as part of a CIA/FBI/DOJ organised crime taskforce with MI6’s Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, for a time un-der McCabe’s direction. During the presidential campaign Nellie was employed by Fusion GPS which produced the Steele dossier, to help with research and analysis of Trump. According to MI6-connected journalist Luke Harding in his Russiagate special prosecutor, Robert Mueller. Photo: Wikipedia
Australian Alert Service910 January 2018Vol. 20 No. 1-2www.cecaust.com.aubook, Collusion: How Russia helped Trump win the White House, Christo-pher Steele had also been a key part of preparing the 2013-14 Ukraine coup, intended to foster an image of Russia as an enemy state and create a pretext for world war. Steele drafted more than a hundred intelligence memos for As-sistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and Secretary of State John Kerry.Insurance policyIn the name of so-called “opposi-tion research” the DNC and Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS’s Simpson, who hired Steele to discredit Trump, but the Anglo-American intelligence apparatus soon took over the opera-tion. It appears that Strzok, under the direction of more senior figures in the bureau, dressed up the Steele dossier and likely used it as the basis of launching a counterintelligence operation against Trump’s campaign under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). When Trump was elected, the “in-surance policy” was put into motion. Simpson told feder-al court hearings that at Bruce Ohr’s request, he met with DOJ officials just weeks after the presidential elections “to discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election”.Despite FBI and DOJ witnesses stonewalling the several investigations of the House Intelligence Committee and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees looking into these charges, crucial elements of the real Russiagate story are com-ing into focus. Released on 12 December 2017 were ninety pages of text messages between Strzok and FBI Attorney Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, revealing overt po-litical bias in favour of the Clinton campaign. Both had been prominent members of Mueller’s investigative team. The mes-sages, which Mueller had been aware of since July, blatantly discussed the effort to keep that “menace” and “loathsome human”, Trump, from being elected, in order to “protect our country”.FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe figured prominent-ly in the correspondence. A 15 August 2016 text from Strzok suggested that anti-Trump plotting was taking place in Mc-Cabe’s office: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s [McCabe’s] office that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected, but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” Most believe the insurance policy to be the Brit-ish-fabricated Steele dossier. At this time Strzok was also FBI Director Comey’s lead case agent on the Clinton email case, in which capacity he changed the wording on the FBI’s final statement on Clinton’s conduct from “criminally negligent”, which is a felony, to the meaningless “extremely careless”, letting her off the hook with the stroke of a pen. He also played a key role in setting up Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for his fall within days of entering the job (“To crush the assault on the presidency”, Executive Intelligence Review, 22 Dec. 2017). The rats scamper Mueller’s team reported that Strzok was removed from the investigation when his text messages with Page were discovered. Page’s work on the inquiry had concluded by that time; both were reassigned within the FBI. B
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Did Anna Bligh really on 29 Apr 2019 see Australian relatives of friends of GW Bush, and being victims of the CBA/Jordanou Mortgage Fraud Scandal, and want a immunity from prosecution deal for Australian bankers?
Subject: Memorandum on Agency Cooperation with Attorney General's Review of Intelligence Activities Relating to the 2016 Presidential Campaigns
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2019
May 23, 2019
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
SUBJECT: Agency Cooperation with Attorney General's Review of Intelligence Activities Relating to the 2016 Presidential Campaigns
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Agency Cooperation.
The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters. The heads of elements of the intelligence community, as defined in 50 U.S.C. 3003(4), and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.
Sec. 2. Declassification and Downgrading. With respect to any matter classified under Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009 (Classified National Security Information), the Attorney General may, by applying the standard set forth in either section 3.1(a) or section 3.1(d) of Executive Order 13526, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General's review referred to in section 1 of this memorandum. Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element or department. This authority is not delegable and applies notwithstanding any other authorization or limitation set forth in Executive Order 13526.
Sec. 3. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) The authority in this memorandum shall terminate upon a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, unless expressly extended by the President.
(d) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(e) The Attorney General is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP
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Former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli found guilty of fraud
By Anna Hartley
Updated about an hour ago
Andrew Antoniolli, wearing sunglasses, walking into court with wife.
Photo: Former Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli had pleaded not guilty to the charges. (ABC News: Anna Hartley)
Related Story: Former Ipswich mayor in tears as he gives evidence over fraud charges
Related Story: Former mayor facing fraud charges 'knew' he was doing wrong thing, court told
A Magistrate has found former Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli guilty of 13 fraud-related charges, criticising his testimony for being "largely self-serving and significantly contrived".
The 48-year-old was on trial last month in the Ipswich Magistrates Court for 12 counts of fraud and one count of attempted fraud between 2005 and 2017.
He was today found guilty of all charges, stemming from buying items at charity auctions — including a football jersey, several artworks and a bicycle — and charging them to the council's community donation fund.
The courtroom was filled with Antoniolli's family, friends, media and community members.
Antoniolli's wife began crying when Magistrate Anthony Gett described her husband's witness testimony as "evasive, reflective and deliberately unresponsive to crucial issues".
"My overall assessment of the defendant's evidence was that it was largely self-serving and significantly contrived," Magistrate Gett told the court.
He said while he believed Antoniolli genuinely cared about community groups, he found he was dishonest in his intent.
"My overall observations of his conduct and demeanour answering questions in the witness box gave the impression his evidence appeared to be rehearsed and lacked a ring of truth," he said.
Antoniolli will remain on bail until he is sentenced on July 30.
The entire Ipswich City Council was sacked last year by the State Government as a result of a corruption probe and an administrator was brought in.
Sixteen people have been charged as a result of the Crime and Corruption Commission's investigation, including several current or former council employees or councillors.
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William Barr's friends in Texas reckon the associates of Cardinal Pell and Australian political figures should be investigated, like the complaints by Australian relatives that the legal board backed relatives of the LNP Cybersecurity Minister and the QC for the accused in the Reserve Bank bribes case and for The Taliban's Ali Ali.
The Taxation Office is involved with a major transnational investigation into a global bank’s involvement in tax evasion being conducted through a powerful body involving revenue chiefs from Australia, the US, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK.
Speaking from Washington, where the J5 Joint Chiefs of International Tax Enforcement has been meeting, ATO deputy commissioner Will Day told The Australian the probe was among a dozen involving Australia being conducted by the body.
The year-old J5 organisation, which shares information between the five nations and conducts joint investigations, has about 50 probes under way, and Mr Day said he thought there were “50 or more other cases that are in the pipeline for the J5”.
Winx a winner on a royal date
“We do feel satisfied with what we’ve achieved over the first 12 months,” he said.
“The sort of behaviour we are trying to deal with is very complex. It often traverses many countries.
“We do think we are on track to have something to say about some of those matters moving to the overt stage within six months.”
The investigation against the global financial institution, which the J5 has not named, also targets intermediaries between the organisation and tax-dodgers — a particular focus for the ATO, which in recent months has stepped up activity against lawyers, accountants and advisers who assist in evasion.
Other areas where J5 countries are co-operating by investigating or exchanging tax information include dealing with money laundering, smuggling and personal tax fraud.
It is also investigating the use of cryptocurrencies to launder money and avoid tax.
Mr Day said the “full range of professional advisers” was in the J5’s sights.
“So certainly lawyers, accountants, business advisers, wealth managers … connected up with offshore advisers who support a range of entities being established across a range of countries,” he said.
He urged anyone who thought they might be involved in such a scheme to come forward to the ATO.
“The risk of getting caught has increased,” he said.
“If people are involved in these activities they are truly under the spotlight on the international stage.
“The best thing they can do is come to us.”
Mr Day said another area of interest for the ATO was the use of back-to-back loans, where Australians bring money stashed in offshore secrecy havens into the country disguised as loans from foreign banks.
The loans, which have also been targeted by the US Internal Revenue Service, featured heavily in the ATO’s $120m legal proceedings against members of Sydney’s Binneter family, who were behind Nudie Juice before it was sold in 2015.
Mr Day said back-to-back loans were a “focus area” for the serious financial crime taskforce, a Canberra-based unit drawing on expertise from agencies including Federal Police, the ATO and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
“That’s certainly a form of offshore financial crime that we’re interested in, often facilitated by financial advisers and even offshore financial institutions.
Business reporter Ben Butler has covered everything from tractors to fashion to corporate collapses. He has previously worked for the Herald Sun and as a senior business reporter with The Age and Sydney Morning... Read more
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