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NAB executive charged over $40m fraud granted bail

Photo: Rosemary Rogers is accused of receiving $5.4 million in bribes. (Supplied) Photo: Rosemary Rogers is accused of receiving $5.4 million in bribes. (Supplied)

A former National Australia Bank (NAB) executive has been charged with 56 offences relating to an alleged $40 million fraud, after she handed herself in to police on Tuesday. Rosemary Rogers was chief of staff to former NAB boss Andrew Thorburn and his predecessor Cameron Clyne.

Police will allege Ms Rogers received $5.4 million worth of bribes in the form of paid personal expenses from a contractor to maintain the contract with the business and approve overstated invoices.

Police allege the bribes included lavish trips to Sydney and a luxury resort at Wolgan Valley in New South Wales.

There was also a month-long stay in the United States, as well as private helicopter transfers and a boat.

Ms Rogers handed herself in to officers at Surry Hills Police Station at 11:00am on Tuesday and was charged later in the afternoon.

Magistrate Robert Williams granted Ms Rogers bail with strict conditions at Sydney's Central Local Court.

Those conditions include a curfew, that Ms Rogers surrenders her passport, that she not contact her co-accused Ms Rosamond and that she reports daily to police near her home in Melbourne.

"The facts are quite extensive," the magistrate said.

"The court would consider, after looking at those facts, that there is a strong prosecution case."

The magistrate added that Ms Rogers would likely receive time in jail if convicted.

Ms Rogers said "thank you" to the magistrate when he granted her bail.

The court heard that police had executed 20 search warrants, obtained 100 witness statements and evidence including phone documents, computers, emails and forensic accounting.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Geha said Ms Rogers had worked at NAB for 20 years, including nine years as chief of staff to the CEO.

"She held a position of advantage ... the crimes were simply motivated by greed and benefits to her and her family to lead a very luxurious life," he said.

Ms Rogers' lawyer Matthew McAuliffe said his client did not pose a flight risk because she had known about the investigation since November 2017 and had not fled.

"Ms Rogers voluntarily flew at her own expense from Melbourne to see police, so she is well aware of the allegation and has been well aware ... since 2017," he said.

"So she has had over a year to abscond if that was what she wanted to do, but instead, she flew to New South Wales to be greeted by police."

Mr McAuliffe said his client could not put up a large surety for her bail because the crime commission had frozen all of her assets, but consequently she also could not afford to abscond.

The matter was adjourned for two weeks, and Ms Rogers was excused from appearing.

Further arrests possible

In a statement, a NAB spokesperson said the bank was cooperating with police.

"The alleged fraud was reported by a whistleblower," they said.

"NAB responded immediately, investigated and reported it to police.

"If the alleged fraud is proven, it represents a most serious breach of trust by a former employee.

"NAB is the victim in this matter. Police have confirmed that no one at NAB is under investigation, including former CEO Andrew Thorburn, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by anyone at NAB."

Mr Thorburn quit the NAB's top job at the end of last month amid the fallout from the banking royal commission.

Last week, NSW Police charged Helen Rosamond with 56 counts of bribing an agent and two counts of gaining benefit by deception amounting to $6 million.

Ms Rosamond is a director of events management company Human Group, a supplier to the bank for about 12 years.

Police allege the offending happened between 2013 and 2017.

NSW Police say they have not ruled out further arrests and the investigation is still ongoing.

In February last year, NSW Police started investigating allegations of corrupt commissions being paid for contracts with the bank.

Investigators allege the fraud amounted to about $40 million over five years.

This article was first published by  https://www.abc.net.au/news/
By Kathleen Calderwood
Last modified onWednesday, 06 March 2019 01:10

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