An AFL star turned Schoolies founder, Clive Palmer’s right-hand man and an ex-cop are cleared of a bizarre alleged plot to abduct an NAB banker
- Three men have been cleared of a bizarre alleged plot to abduct NAB executive
- Former AFL star turned Schoolies founder Tony Smith was suing the bank
- Clive Palmer’s media manager Andrew Crook was also accused of involvement
- Ex Queensland detective Mick Featherstone was the third member cleared
A bizarre plot to abduct a NAB executive on a remote Indonesian island and force him to issue a false confession in a civil lawsuit has been thrown out of court.
Former AFL star turned Schoolies founder Tony Smith, Clive Palmer’s media manager Andrew Crook and an ex Queensland detective Mick Featherstone were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice and attempted fraud.
The Trio were charged for the elaborate scheme six years ago but on Thursday in the middle of the their committal hearing at the Brisbane Magistrates Court, had all charges dropped.
Clive Palmer (pictured left) chats with his media adviser Andrew Crook (right) aboard his private jet in 2013
Former AFL star turned Schoolies founder Tony Smith (pictured left), Clive Palmer’s media manager Andrew Crook and an ex Queensland cop Mick Featherstone (pictured right) were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice and attempted fraud
The 2013 incident was described at the time by Detective Inspector Phillip Stevens as something straight out of a Hollywood script.
Smith, Crook and Featherstone were accused of luring NAB’s Adam Gazal to a remote island in Indonesia under the false pretense of offering him a high-paying job.
Mr Gazal was Mr Smith’s personal banker when Sydney Swans ruckman was embroiled in a legal battle against NAB.
He had taken the Australian financial giant to court after losing almost $70million in investments gone wrong.
It was alleged by police the three men told Mr Gazal he was inline for a lucrative job at one of Clive Palmer’s mining ventures, but would need to sit for an interview overseas.
There is no suggestion Mr Palmer had any knowledge of the alleged plot.
It was alleged the banker flew to a luxury resort island on the Indonesian island of Batam, thinking he was about to be interviewed for the role.
Instead, it was alleged the three men used the bogus interview to try to get Mr Gazal to say he lied during the civil case Mr Smith had launched against the bank.
When that failed, they sent two Indonesians dressed as security officers to take the banker captive – seizing his passport, mobile phone and wallet – until he made a videotaped confession regarding the case, police alleged.
Smith, Crook and Featherstone were accused of luring a banker the remote Indonesia island of Batam under the false pretense of offering him a high-paying job
Andrew Crook exits the police watchhouse in Brisbane on December 19, 2014
Despite the positive news, Mr Smith said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ he did not get the chance to prove his innocence.
‘I’m p****d off and upset – as long as my arse points towards the ground, I just want the truth to come out,’ he told The Courier-Mail.
‘I wasn’t worried about being charged because I’m innocent. If you follow due process, the truth has to come out but we’ve been denied that opportunity.’
Mr Crook said he felt relived that his name had been cleared after six long and frustrating years that had taken a toll on his personal life and business.
‘I have maintained from day one that I was innocent. It has taken six long years for vindication but the day has finally arrived. It is an enormous weight off my shoulders’ he said.
Mr Featherstone did not provide any comment.
Mining magnate Clive Palmer’s media advisor Andrew Crook (pictured left) leaves the Brisbane Magistrates Court on July 7, 2016