"The AFP argues that the amounts should be refunded under the act," report Sian Powell and Peter Lalor in today's The Australian. But their story is confusing because it doesn't say precisely what will happen to the money. It seems that, because most of it has already been sent to Indonesia, there's nothing the cops can do about it. What exactly does the word "froze" in the following mean? If the federal DPP is "moving to seize the money" it must mean that they don't have it yet.
On March 2, the Queensland Court of Appeal froze $267,500 wired into the bank account of Mercedes's husband, Wayan Widyartha, by Pan Macmillan as part of the advance. The federal Director of Public Prosecutions is moving to seize the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
After adding a few more details about the money, the journalists then turn to the behind-the-scenes maneuvrings of the publishers and the others involved in the saga. They point to "protracted and complex negotiations among the Corby sisters, Bonella and Pan Macmillan". Sounds underhanded, to say the least. But is it really all that bad?
Kathryn Bonella, who actually wrote the book, apparently "had concerns about losing the money to the Australian Government through the proceeds of crime laws long before the Court of Appeal froze the book's profits". This seems to make her guilty of something. Or at least it makes her look shifty.
Pan Macmillan's Tom Gilliatt wrote to Bonella: "My understanding is that you're at no risk since the act is to stop those convicted of a crime profiting from it (and even that's arguable in court)."
The journalists then shift from Bonella to Mercedes Corby, who is urged by the publisher to send an invoice so that payment can be made "before the book becomes public knowledge". More shiftiness.
Then we go back to Bonella, who apparently used an alias ('Lisa') while travelling to and from Indonesia. Shifty again.
We're then told that the AFP seized e-mails and "tracked the movements of Bonella and a number of Pan Macmillan employees through the Immigration Department". More guilt there.
Further confusion as we're told that Pan Macmillan knew about the court case in December, but that "the Corbys and Bonella were not aware of the court case until the freezing papers were served on Schapelle, Mercedes and her husband in Bali in late March". More damning evidence.
There follows some of the other sources of income emanating from the Schapelle Corby story. News Limited and New Idea both bought into the franchise.
They round off the story with some news about Mercedes Corby suing "Seven Network's Today Tonight program" in the Supreme Court.