11 stories this week:


Money laundering syndicate believed to be linked to crime boss George Marrogi is broken up – 3 February 2023
Victoria Police has charged 24 people with money laundering offences as part of an investigation into a large-scale Middle Eastern organised crime syndicate. The arrests follow a two-year investigation, believed to be linked to crime figure George Marrogi, who is currently serving a 32-year jail sentence for murder and recently pleaded guilty to running a drug syndicate from jail.


Activision Blizzard will pay $35 million to settle SEC charges over its handling of complaints – 3 February 2023
Activision Blizzard (video game company) will pay $35 million to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commision that it “failed to maintain disclosure controls and procedures to ensure that the company could assess whether its disclosures pertaining to its workforce were adequate.” The settlement also resolves charges that Activision Blizzard violated whistleblower protection regulations. The company is settling the charges without admitting to or denying them.


Papas fled Australia while pretending to be in Perth, court hears – 7 February 2023
Bill Papas, accused fraudster and alleged mastermind behind a $400 million bank fraud, told his banker he was on his way to Perth to deal with issues raised by Westpac, but was instead fleeing the country from Sydney, the Federal Court has heard.


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Australian bank admits botch-up, refunds prominent Kiwi entertainer A$30k after Herald investigation – 7 February 2023
A Sydney-based St George Bank recovered a third of a prominent Kiwi entertainers stolen money last year after learning of a fraud, but did not secure the cash and allowed it to be withdrawn by the thieves. The case raises questions about the Australian bank’s internal processes in dealing with fraud and recovering stolen money.


ClubsNSW settles case with terminally ill whistleblower Troy Stolz – 7 February 2023
Whistleblower Troy Stolz has announced his long-running legal battle with ClubsNSW has been “resolved” after reaching an out-of-court settlement.


It is not in the public interest to jail people for telling the truth. Labor must end these whistleblower cases – 8 February 2023
Kieren Pender discusses how Two Australian whistleblowers (David McBride, Richard Boyle) are expected to face trial later this year for speaking up about government wrongdoing. He says both cases are an injustice of the highest order. If either or both of these brave men go to jail for doing the right thing, for telling the truth, it will permanently cloud the Albanese government’s legacy.


Commonwealth offices ‘riddled’ with security cameras linked to Chinese government – 9 February 2023
An audit has uncovered more than 900 units of surveillance equipment built by companies linked to the Chinese government exist within Commonwealth government buildings, including Defence and Foreign Affairs offices. The Shadow Cyber Security Minister says the government needs a plan to remove them.


ICAC review of Batchelor Institute recommends ‘critical’ changes to corporate culture – 9 February 2023
The NT’s ICAC has audited the Batchelor Institute and found several financial anomalies, flawed governance, and corporate culture. The Batchelor Institute has accepted all 27 recommendations.


Whistleblower Jeff Morris labels integrity reforms hypocritical as government presses ahead with prosecutions – 9 February 2023
Jeff Morris, whose decision to lift the lid on corrupt practices within the CBA which in turn helped trigger the banking royal commission, stated in a public interest disclosure (PID) regime submission, that the changes need to go much further, with the creation of a “Whistleblower Protection Agency”.


Sydney man spared jail after ‘opportunistic’ Optus data blackmail attempt – 7 February 2023
Dennis Su, 20, sent text messages to 92 people in September after finding their information on a website that published data from the Optus breach. He has been spared jail but must complete 100 hours of community service.


Partygoers warned to beware of suspicious events when buying tickets online- 9 February 2023
The Cairns Show Association found out tickets were being sold for a music event at its showgrounds without its knowledge. Social media users are being warned to closely scrutinise all online promotions due to the prevalence of tickets being sold for fictitious or risky events.