Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Palmer adviser cleared of kidnap plot

Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions has dropped charges against an ex-Sydney Swans player and Clive Palmer’s media adviser over an alleged kidnap plot.

October 2, 2020

Clive Palmer’s media adviser, a former AFL player and a former police officer have been cleared of charges related to an alleged plot to kidnap a banking executive on an Indonesian island.

Former Sydney Swans player Tony Smith, former policeman turned Gold Coast private investigator Mick Featherstone and Andrew Crook were accused of luring a National Australia Bank executive to an island off the coast of Singapore with the prospect of a highly paid global finance officer job with mining magnate Clive Palmer.

Mr Crook had been accused of using his media company links to make the job offer appear as the real deal in 2013, but police had cleared Mr Palmer of involvement.

Mr Featherstone was alleged to have taken on a fake identity and played the job interviewer in an attempt to get recorded admissions from the bank employee that he had lied during a 2012 civil matter involving Mr Smith.

After this failed, police alleged a second plan was used, where two Indonesian nationals dressed in security-type uniforms entered the room, detained the bank employee and seized his mobile phone, wallet and passport.

Mr Smith, who played 17 games for Sydney in the 1980s, took the NAB to court over $68 million he lost in a building project and shares in failed mortgage broker MFS.

The trio were later charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and fraud.

But the Queensland Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on Thursday dropped the charges.

“On the basis of the evidence currently available to prosecute this matter we exercised discretion to not proceed with the prosecution,” a spokesman said in a statement.

Mr Crook said he was relieved to finally be cleared.

“I have maintained from day one that I was innocent,” he said in a statement.

“It has taken six long years for vindication but the day has finally arrived.

“It is an enormous weight off my shoulders.”

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