Queensland bribe claims confirmed

May 1, 1991

Queensland bribe claims confirmed

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Allegations that multimillionaire Sir Leslie Thiess bribed the Bjelke-Petersen government were substantially true, the jury has ruled in Australia's longest and most expensive defamation trial.

The jury confirmed Channel 9's claims that Thiess got huge government contracts through large-scale and frequent bribery.

It also concluded that Thiess had defrauded fellow Thiess Watkins (Constructions) shareholder Kumagai Gumi by diverting company funds and materials to his own use and had cheated and defrauded shareholders of other companies he controlled.

However, the jury awarded Thiess damages totalling $55,050 on three out of some 70 allegations, which it deemed not proven.

"The jury's findings are absolutely tremendous. We are delighted", said Jana Wendt, presenter of A Current Affair, the program that made the allegations. "It does say something about the cultures that prevailed in Queensland during that period and the relationship with big business."

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