Bond arrested on fraud charge

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The Independent Online
The failed Australian business tycoon Alan Bond was arrested on Saturday and charged with fraud and conspiracy relating to an A$1bn (£500m) business transaction in the late 1980s.

"These charges alleged criminality on a massive scale involving funds in excess of A$1bn," Stephen Hall, prosecutor for the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court.

An ashen-faced Mr Bond, wearing a lightweight grey suit with no tie, arrived at the police station attached to the East Perth magistrates' court with his lawyer, Andrew Fraser. He was formally arrested and placed in the cells before appearing before a magistrate for a bail hearing.

Mr Bond was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud, three counts of failing to act honestly as a company director with intention to defraud and three counts of making improper use of his position as a company officer.

Mr Hall said the charges related to use of Bell Resources Ltd funds in 1988 and 1989 following the takeover by Mr Bond's corporate flagship, Bond Corporation Holdings Ltd, of control of Bell Group Ltd and Bell Resources from the late corporate raider, Robert Holmes a Court.

Mr Bond arranged for Bell Resources to buy Bond Corporation's ailing brewing assets, which went into receivership after Bell paid over a A$1.2bn deposit, which was lost.

Mr Bond was released on bail of A$500,000 and a surety of A$250,000 until another hearing on March 13. He was also required to surrender his passport and to report to police once a week.

Opposing attempts by Bond's lawyer to soften bail conditions, Mr Hall said: "It will be alleged that Mr Bond is one of the principal offenders in the fraud. If convicted there must be a strong likelihood he will be imprisoned." The charges against Mr Bond followed a long investigation into the affairs of his collapsed global brewing, mining, property, energy and media conglomerate, Bond Corporation, by the corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities Commission, and the Australian Federal Police.