World News – UA – Testimony casts doubt on claim by former V / Line boss


Claims by former V / Line boss James Pinder that the money he pocketed from the rail operator’s cleaning contractor was the product of a union game been called into question by new evidence presented during an anti-corruption investigation

The broad-based Independent Anti-Corruption Commission investigation into serious corruption allegations at V / Line and Metro Trains heard from Metro Trains’ operational fleet manager Peter Bollas on Wednesday, who said that he had never been part of the gambling union which was repeatedly mentioned by Mr. Pinder in two and a half days of proof

« You would have heard M Pinder talk at enough length about a gaming syndicate? « IBAC assistant lawyer Paul Lawrie asked Mr. Bollas, who appeared at the inquest after M Pinder

M Bollas also said during the live hearings that he received regular payments of $ 8,000 to $ 10,000 from Transclean over a period of three and a half to four years, with thousands of dollars passed to him through M Pinder

M Pinder either handed over money from Transclean boss George Haritos to Mr. Bollas, or M Bollas collected M’s money Pinder, said M Bollas at hearings Payments had to be monthly

M Bollas estimated that he received approximately $ 150,000 in total from M Haritos The money was meant to ‘help’ and ‘grow’ Transclean’s business while he oversaw cleaning contracts at Metro, he said

Former V / Line boss James Pinder (left) and Transclean boss George Haritos (right) in a parking lot in South Yarra M Pinder is holding cleaning equipment Credit: IBAC

IBAC is investigating allegations of serious corruption within Line V / and metro trains, involving public officials colluding to receive financial benefits in return for awarding major cleaning contracts

This is the second corruption investigation into V / Line in three years, with the current investigation revealing alleged more « serious » behavior, including the fact that Mr. Pinder received $ 320,000 from Transclean in 2018 after awarding the company a contract worth up to $ 40 million

This loan was separate from the monthly payments paid to MM Pinder and Bollas, according to the survey

In August, IBAC investigators found up to $ 65,000 in cash in a bag at Mr. Bollas, grouped in $ 5,000 to $ 10,000, according to survey

Former V / Line boss James Pinder (left) and Transclean boss George Haritos (right) during a secret meeting at the V / Line officesCredit: IBAC

M Bollas said about $ 40,000 of the money came from M He and Haritos had mostly been transmitted via M Pinder

M Bollas said the payment was in return for « promoting his business [from George Haritos] helping him a lot ignore all the problems »

An intercepted telephone conversation between Mr. Bollas and M Pinder during the IBAC hearings captures the couple discussing the extra work Transclean was getting during the pandemic and agreeing that Mr. Pinder should ask M Haritos to pay them « 50 each », referring to a payment of $ 50,000

M Bollas told the survey that references to a « Christmas bonus » or a « sprinkle » in their conversations indicated that additional Transclean money would be asked to pay the pair, in addition to the monthly payments of $ 8,000. 10,000 dollars

He said he was eventually paid $ 10,000 by Mr. Haritos in additional payments, just weeks before being raided by the IBAC

While being questioned on how M Pinder was spending Transclean’s money and if M Pinder was going to the casino, M Bollas stated that M Pinder used to play « a lot » and said he made « weekly visits »

Another intercepted phone call between M Pinder and M Bollas in February this year captured M Bollas speaking about plans to cover up a serious security breach in which a Transclean worker was nearly electrocuted

M Pinder did not challenge the proposal or order an audit of the breach, the IBAC learned.Instead, he discussed other issues and informed Mr. Bollas that M Haritos wanted to hire him at Transclean

Separate texts between the two in 2018 reveal that Mr. Pinder promises M Bollas a job at V / Line with a salary over $ 200,000 « For your brother, anything is possible, always, » wrote M Pinder in an SMS

M Pinder offered the job to his close friend months after writing a response to the IBAC about how he had improved recruitment practices at V / Line following the blatant nepotism revealed by the commission during an investigation in 2017, promising that he would make him a « champion of integrity »

Commissioner Robert Redlich suggested that Mr. Pinder indulged in a simple « window dressing » and « going through motions » to answer the IBAC after his previous survey M Pinder said his own wrongdoing should not reflect the hard work of the V / Line organization to improve integrity

Surveillance footage and photos shown at the hearings also revealed a meeting between Mr. Haritos and M Pinder in Williamstown, South Yarra and the V / Line office parking lot between April and August of this year

Before each meeting, Mr. Haritos withdrew between $ 8,000 and $ 12,000 in cash – on one occasion by withdrawing directly from Transclean’s account – and met with M Pinder for a brief exchange near their cars, a cafe or in a parking lot

Although M Pinder told the IBAC investigation that he did not remember if he received cash on every occasion, he admitted he pocketed $ 10,000 from Mr. Haritos in August and that he may also have received money at other times, which he claimed was the product of a legal gambling syndicate

Asked about the gambling union on Wednesday, Mr. Pinder admitted that it was possible for the money – always handed over in rounded amounts – to come directly from Transclean in some cases.

IBAC assistant lawyer Paul Lawrie said: « If you didn’t know how much you owed to be paid because of the union’s successes and at least suspected that George [Haritos] was using every now and then union money It’s time to help Transclean’s cash flow, how can you be sure that what you were getting was not part syndicate funds and part Transclean money?  »

M Redlich asked why M Pinder had written a note to M Haritos offering a « fake story » about how he got $ 10,000 in cash from the boss of Transclean after the money was discovered by IBAC investigators, if it was the product of a gambling union

A note former V / Line boss James Pinder wrote for Transclean boss George Haritos after he was attacked by IBAC

« Why did you need to write him a message like this if the truth is, it was only about the payment of gambling revenues which he knew to be gambling revenues and, if asked , would he say it?  »

M Pinder said the letter was written in a panic, and he was concerned the optics of engaging with a V / Line provider in a legal gambling syndicate seemed inappropriate

Transclean is the current cleaning contractor at V / Line, Metro and does safety work at Yarra Trams

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V / Line, James Pinder, Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission, Metro Trains Melbourne, Taxpayer, Managing Director

News from around the world – UA – Testimony casts doubt on the old V / Claim of the line manager’s gaming union


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