VIDEO: Craig Thomson to fight charges

FEDERAL MP Craig Thomson, arrested at his electorate office on the Central Coast yesterday,  allegedly rejected an offer late last year to surrender himself to Victorian police.

The 48-year-old said he would fight the 149 fraud charges made against him.

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The former Labor member was taken from his Tuggerah office to Wyong police station at about 1pm, charged, and represented himself during a brief bail application in a magistrate’s court.

Police did not oppose bail.

Outside Wyong Local Court, Mr Thomson made a brief statement and did not take questions even though it went ‘‘against the grain’’ as a politician.

‘‘And particularly when every fibre of my being is screaming out to say how wrong this is,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll be vigorously defending these charges.’’ 

Court documents state the alleged offences occurred between February 2003 and April 2008.

The one offence listed in the charge sheet says Mr Thomson used a Mastercard to avoid paying a debt of $330 to Sydney escort service Aboutoun Catering for sexual services in February 2003.

He has previously denied allegations he misused union funds to pay for prostitutes, air travel, entertainment and cash withdrawals when he was national secretary of the Health Services Union.

Head of the NSW fraud squad, Detective Superintendent Colin Dyson, and some of his officers were joined by Victorian officers in Mr Thomson’s arrest.

‘‘I believe from reading the warrant that he was invited to travel to Victoria to surrender himself prior to Christmas,’’ Superintendent Dyson told reporters outside Wyong police station.

‘‘He didn’t do that, or refused, and the end result was the issue of that warrant.’’

Mr Thomson’s lawyer, Chris McArdle, said the police version of events was ‘‘completely untrue’’.

The request for his client to travel to Victoria was to attend an interview, not surrender to police, he said.

Mr Thomson is still being investigated by NSW police in relation to alleged fraud in the NSW branch of the Health Services Union.

Mr Thomson has been suspended from the Labor Party, which has been damaged by the charges.  

Among his bail conditions, he is prohibited from contacting anyone from whom he allegedly secured sexual services. His matter will come before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.  AAP

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