NRL embroiled in cover-up involving sex, drugs and a star player


Peter Parr from the Cowboys.Credit:Getty Images.

The man was distraught and furious when he discovered a message from the star player to his wife about their toilet tryst in the Qantas lounge which occurred on Father’s Day 2018.

Alarmed at what could become a public relations nightmare, the woman, who is employed by the Cowboys, contacted the club’s then football manager Peter Parr for help.

“On becoming aware of our client’s knowledge of the sexual act,” Mr Parr gave the husband prescription medication “to help him cope with the shock,” said Mr Sneddon in his complaint to the NRL, first lodged in October last year.

Unbeknown to the husband, the tablets Mr Parr gave him were Valium.

Dr Chris Ball wrote a medical certificate for the husband.

Dr Chris Ball wrote a medical certificate for the husband.

Mr Parr, who is currently the manager for the NSW State of Origin team, admitted to the Herald that he gave the husband the tablets. Mr Parr said that on the night of September 5 the husband was at Mr Parr’s home in a very distressed state.

Mr Parr denied that the tablets were his or that he knew they were Valium. He claimed he had “swung by the doc’s” place on the night to get something to help the husband sleep. “They weren’t mine. I don’t have Valium in the house. Panadol and cough medicine is all I have,” he said.

The husband, a long-haul truck driver, subsequently tested positive for benzodiazepine as part of a routine workplace drug test.

Dr Chris Ball, who runs a sports clinic and is the team doctor for both the Cowboys and the national team, came forward to claim – falsely – that he had personally consulted with the husband on the night of September 5, 2018.

“[The husband] had experienced a family crisis and was stressed and unable to sleep,” said Dr Ball in a medical certificate to be provided to the husband’s employer.

To explain the lack of any written prescription for the medication, Dr Ball stated in the medical certificate that he “does not prescribe benzodiazepine medication” and that on this occasion “I gave [the husband] a sample quantity of four diazepam [Valium]…tablets to help facilitate sleep.”

On September 25, Dr Ball was contacted by a medical officer on behalf of the truck driver’s employer. That doctor noted the “recent prescription for benzodiazepines on the background of acute crisis and poor sleep” and requested further information as to the “medical fitness” of the husband to continue his job as a truck driver.

On his Sports Clinic NQ letterhead, Dr Ball replied the same day, “I have not prescribed any more medication. He is sleeping well and is not needing ongoing treatment or medication.”

Guidelines issued by the Australian Medical Association, stipulate that “Doctors who deliberately issue a false, misleading or inaccurate certificate could face disciplinary action under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.”

Mr Sneddon, whose client has never met Dr Ball, disputed Mr Parr’s claim that the football manager left his home late at night to go to Dr Ball’s premises to obtain medication for the husband.

Mr Sneddon has provided the medical certificates to the NRL and has informed the NRL’s integrity unit that Dr Ball is the subject of an investigation by the medical watchdog AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).

AHPRA and the OHO said that due to “confidentiality provisions” they were unable to comment to the Herald on individual matters.

However, Mr Parr confirmed to the Herald that Dr Ball has been the subject of an inquiry by medical authorities and that he had provided the regulator with an account of what had occurred on the night. Dr Ball did not reply to the Herald’s emails and calls requesting comment.

In hindsight, said Mr Parr of his provision of Valium to the husband, “I wouldn’t do it again” but at the time he was dealing with “a very stressful situation.”

The couple’s relationship never recovered and at one stage the wife called police, expressing concerns for her and the player’s safety, following her husband’s discovery of the affair. No charges were laid.

Mr Parr, who was recently appointed to the Cowboys’ board after stepping down as the team’s manager, acknowledged that both he and Dr Ball should have informed the integrity unit about the investigation by Queensland medical authorities.

Registered NRL personnel have an obligation to report matters which may bring the game into disrepute. Given that engaging in a sex act in a public toilet is a potential criminal offence constituting an act of public indecency, Mr Parr also agreed he should have notified the integrity unit of the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the star player.

In his most recent letter to the integrity unit, dated 31 August, Mr Sneddon once again complained about the lack of action by the NRL, saying there was one rule for some players, and another rule for others.

He also noted that, since lodging the complaint more than a year ago, the NRL Integrity unit was able to investigate and impose penalties on players including Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and Nathan Cleary.

On October 9, the NRL informed Mr Sneddon that the matter would be “progressed” to an investigation. This came only days after explosive allegations about former Souths’ star Sam Burgess were published in The Australian. The allegations, denied by Burgess, included that in November 2018 Burgess, while on a drug-fuelled bender, was injected with a liquid tranquilliser by Souths’ club doctor Andrew McDonald who wrote out the prescription in another person’s name.

However, the NRL unit has claimed that a lack of co-operation on behalf of the complainant in the Cowboys’ matter has been the reason for the lengthy delay. “Where complaints are made to police or other regulatory bodies we are mindful not to prejudice or cut-across those processes with our own investigations,” said a spokesman for the NRL.

“The NRL will progress its investigation and is unable to provide further comment,” the spokesman said.

Neither the woman nor the player responded to requests for comment. The truck driver referred queries to his lawyer, Mr Sneddon, who said his client has been widely disparaged by the Cowboys in an attempt to discredit him. He said his client has lost everything.

In late 2018, the husband sent the following text message to the player’s wife.

“[Name removed], I know you wouldn’t like me texting you but I feel no one but you could understand how I am feeling. I only found out today [his wife] gets to keep her job at the Cowboys.

“I feel so gutted that nothing what her and [the player] have done after cheating on both of us over that Gold Coast weekend is fair. I have lost everything – my wife, family. I feel so worthless after what they have done but to know that they will still see each other at the club is so hurtful for me.

“I just can’t believe Parrie [Peter Parr] is covering [the truck driver’s wife’s] tracks and will still let her travel with the team. I feel like no one gives a f..k about how we might feel about it.

“I guess I should just realise I am nobody and not important to anybody especially to [his wife], the Cowboys and obviously [the player] who felt my wife was also his property. I won’t bother you ever again. I promise not to ring or text again. I am sorry. “

He received no reply.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading



Source link

NRL embroiled in cover-up involving sex, drugs and a star player


Peter Parr from the Cowboys.Credit:Getty Images.

The man was distraught and furious when he discovered a message from the star player to his wife about their toilet tryst in the Qantas lounge which occurred on Father’s Day 2018.

Alarmed at what could become a public relations nightmare, the woman, who is employed by the Cowboys, contacted the club’s then football manager Peter Parr for help.

“On becoming aware of our client’s knowledge of the sexual act,” Mr Parr gave the husband prescription medication “to help him cope with the shock,” said Mr Sneddon in his complaint to the NRL, first lodged in October last year.

Unbeknown to the husband, the tablets Mr Parr gave him were Valium.

Dr Chris Ball wrote a medical certificate for the husband.

Dr Chris Ball wrote a medical certificate for the husband.

Mr Parr, who is currently the manager for the NSW State of Origin team, admitted to the Herald that he gave the husband the tablets. Mr Parr said that on the night of September 5 the husband was at Mr Parr’s home in a very distressed state.

Mr Parr denied that the tablets were his or that he knew they were Valium. He claimed he had “swung by the doc’s” place on the night to get something to help the husband sleep. “They weren’t mine. I don’t have Valium in the house. Panadol and cough medicine is all I have,” he said.

The husband, a long-haul truck driver, subsequently tested positive for benzodiazepine as part of a routine workplace drug test.

Dr Chris Ball, who runs a sports clinic and is the team doctor for both the Cowboys and the national team, came forward to claim – falsely – that he had personally consulted with the husband on the night of September 5, 2018.

“[The husband] had experienced a family crisis and was stressed and unable to sleep,” said Dr Ball in a medical certificate to be provided to the husband’s employer.

To explain the lack of any written prescription for the medication, Dr Ball stated in the medical certificate that he “does not prescribe benzodiazepine medication” and that on this occasion “I gave [the husband] a sample quantity of four diazepam [Valium]…tablets to help facilitate sleep.”

On September 25, Dr Ball was contacted by a medical officer on behalf of the truck driver’s employer. That doctor noted the “recent prescription for benzodiazepines on the background of acute crisis and poor sleep” and requested further information as to the “medical fitness” of the husband to continue his job as a truck driver.

On his Sports Clinic NQ letterhead, Dr Ball replied the same day, “I have not prescribed any more medication. He is sleeping well and is not needing ongoing treatment or medication.”

Guidelines issued by the Australian Medical Association, stipulate that “Doctors who deliberately issue a false, misleading or inaccurate certificate could face disciplinary action under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.”

Mr Sneddon, whose client has never met Dr Ball, disputed Mr Parr’s claim that the football manager left his home late at night to go to Dr Ball’s premises to obtain medication for the husband.

Mr Sneddon has provided the medical certificates to the NRL and has informed the NRL’s integrity unit that Dr Ball is the subject of an investigation by the medical watchdog AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).

AHPRA and the OHO said that due to “confidentiality provisions” they were unable to comment to the Herald on individual matters.

However, Mr Parr confirmed to the Herald that Dr Ball has been the subject of an inquiry by medical authorities and that he had provided the regulator with an account of what had occurred on the night. Dr Ball did not reply to the Herald’s emails and calls requesting comment.

In hindsight, said Mr Parr of his provision of Valium to the husband, “I wouldn’t do it again” but at the time he was dealing with “a very stressful situation.”

The couple’s relationship never recovered and at one stage the wife called police, expressing concerns for her and the player’s safety, following her husband’s discovery of the affair. No charges were laid.

Mr Parr, who was recently appointed to the Cowboys’ board after stepping down as the team’s manager, acknowledged that both he and Dr Ball should have informed the integrity unit about the investigation by Queensland medical authorities.

Registered NRL personnel have an obligation to report matters which may bring the game into disrepute. Given that engaging in a sex act in a public toilet is a potential criminal offence constituting an act of public indecency, Mr Parr also agreed he should have notified the integrity unit of the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the star player.

In his most recent letter to the integrity unit, dated 31 August, Mr Sneddon once again complained about the lack of action by the NRL, saying there was one rule for some players, and another rule for others.

He also noted that, since lodging the complaint more than a year ago, the NRL Integrity unit was able to investigate and impose penalties on players including Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and Nathan Cleary.

On October 9, the NRL informed Mr Sneddon that the matter would be “progressed” to an investigation. This came only days after explosive allegations about former Souths’ star Sam Burgess were published in The Australian. The allegations, denied by Burgess, included that in November 2018 Burgess, while on a drug-fuelled bender, was injected with a liquid tranquilliser by Souths’ club doctor Andrew McDonald who wrote out the prescription in another person’s name.

However, the NRL unit has claimed that a lack of co-operation on behalf of the complainant in the Cowboys’ matter has been the reason for the lengthy delay. “Where complaints are made to police or other regulatory bodies we are mindful not to prejudice or cut-across those processes with our own investigations,” said a spokesman for the NRL.

“The NRL will progress its investigation and is unable to provide further comment,” the spokesman said.

Neither the woman nor the player responded to requests for comment. The truck driver referred queries to his lawyer, Mr Sneddon, who said his client has been widely disparaged by the Cowboys in an attempt to discredit him. He said his client has lost everything.

In late 2018, the husband sent the following text message to the player’s wife.

“[Name removed], I know you wouldn’t like me texting you but I feel no one but you could understand how I am feeling. I only found out today [his wife] gets to keep her job at the Cowboys.

“I feel so gutted that nothing what her and [the player] have done after cheating on both of us over that Gold Coast weekend is fair. I have lost everything – my wife, family. I feel so worthless after what they have done but to know that they will still see each other at the club is so hurtful for me.

“I just can’t believe Parrie [Peter Parr] is covering [the truck driver’s wife’s] tracks and will still let her travel with the team. I feel like no one gives a f..k about how we might feel about it.

“I guess I should just realise I am nobody and not important to anybody especially to [his wife], the Cowboys and obviously [the player] who felt my wife was also his property. I won’t bother you ever again. I promise not to ring or text again. I am sorry. “

He received no reply.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading



Source link

Melbourne Demons embroiled in latest inappropriate touching controversy


Jordan Lewis has criticised his former teammates Christian Petracca and Jayden Hunt after the Melbourne pair were spotted touching each other inappropriately during coach Simon Goodwin’s three-quarter-time address on Saturday.

Cameras caught Hunt poking his fingers around Petracca’s bottom during the final change of the Dees’ win over Essendon on Saturday. Petracca appeared to reciprocate.

Jayden Hunt and Christian Petracca.Credit:Fox Footy

Melbourne have been contacted for comment and are expected to release a statement in relation to the issue. Richmond, St Kilda and Carlton have dealt with similar issues earlier this season. The Tigers and Saints incidents prompted the AFL to issue a statement condemning the behaviour.

Former Demon Lewis told Fox Footy that such behaviour was no longer acceptable.

“Players need to be aware that we live in a different environment now,” Lewis said.

“If it’s not mentioned on commentary, certainly social media will pick it up, and then when it gains traction the club and the AFL have to address it. They don’t need to be attending to these types of matters in such an important part of the year.

“Just don’t leave yourself open to this sort of criticism.”



Source link

Mike Cannon-Brookes embroiled in lawsuit over Zoox’s $1.8b sale to Amazon


Mr Cannon-Brookes described Zoox as “the most ambitious company I have ever been associated with” and the startup was hyped as the ‘robo-taxi’ future of autonomous driving with a valuation which reached as high as $US3.2 billion.

However Zoox struggled after Mr Kentley-Klay was ousted from his role at chief executive in 2018 and the startup was forced to raise a $US200 million convertible note in October last year to extend its runway before it laid off around 10 per cent of its 1000 employees in April.

Zoox’s sale to Amazon in June at almost a third of its previous valuation is being litigated by shareholders James Wei and Yanxin Zhang, who filed a verified complaint to compel inspection of Zoox’s books and records in Delaware’s Chancery Court this week.

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes was one of Zoox’s earliest backers.Credit:Janie Barrett

The shareholders claim Zoox used the financial crisis caused by COVID-19 to justify an underpriced sale in exchange for personal benefits despite starting the sale process “long before the pandemic”.

“The merger agreement was approved by written consent from conflicted insiders, without need for any approval by unconflicted outside common stockholders,” the complaint states.

It claims the circumstances surrounding the term sheet and exclusivity agreement with Amazon were “concerning” with Zoox agreeing to a “fully-baked” term sheet with Amazon about a day after receiving an indication of interest from the e-commerce giant and failing to engage its legal counsel until two days before the term sheet was signed.

The shareholders claim Zoox’s status as a private company meant they received “very little information on key issues” and inspection was needed to ascertain the value of their shares and to investigate events leading up to the sale “in order to determine whether it is appropriate to pursue litigation against all or some members of the board and/or company management”.

The shareholders also want to investigate any apparent wrongdoing in connection with the sale, determine how Zoox’s directors and senior officers were compensated, whether they were beneficiaries of any related-party transactions, and to investigate the independence and disinterestedness of the directors generally.

The complaint claims a majority of the Zoox board was conflicted and highlight the role of Mr Cannon-Brookes who “has been involved with Zoox since its earliest days”.

Loading

Mr Cannon-Brookes first invested in Zoox through Blackbird and joined the Zoox board after leading Zoox’s series B investment with a personal investment of $100 million.

The complaint states Mr Cannon-Brookes reportedly negotiated a ratchet provision that guaranteed he would recoup his investment in the event Zoox sold for a lower price, and a further investment by the Atlassian co-founder was protected via a convertible note.

“The information statement does not disclose whether Cannon-Brookes retains any interest in Zoox via Blackbird Ventures, or the size and nature of Blackbird’s current stake in Zoox,” the complaint states. “Despite these conflicts, the information statement contains no indication that Cannon-Brookes was walled off from substantive negotiations or deliberations regarding the acquisition.”

Mr Cannon-Brookes and Blackbird declined to comment on the case, but a spokesperson for Blackbird said he wanted to clarify Mr Cannon-Brookes’ role at the venture capital firm.

“He is an investor in all our funds and on the board of our management company, but he is not involved in the operational day-to-day decision making of the firm,” the spokesperson said.

Zoox and Amazon did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication.

Most Viewed in Business

Loading



Source link

Veteran German socialist embroiled in meat-packing scandal – POLITICO


Sigmar Gabriel was hired by the company Tönnies to shore up its exports to China | Adam Berry/Getty Images

Sigmar Gabriel faces heat for high-paying job at a meat company hit by a massive COVID-19 outbreak.

BERLIN — Veteran socialist Sigmar Gabriel’s lucrative job at a meat company plagued by a massive COVID-19 outbreak is turning stomachs in Germany.

The slaughterhouse scandal took an unexpected turn Thursday when public broadcaster ARD revealed that Gabriel, a former leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and former vice chancellor, had held a high-paying job with the company that owned the infected plant — with a monthly compensation of €10,000 plus generous benefits.

The news comes at a time when Germany is reexamining low pay and poor working conditions for largely Eastern European workers at slaughterhouses in the wake of major outbreaks — conditions which experts say have caused such facilities to become hotbeds of infection.

It also reignites debate about potential conflicts of interest and Germany’s perceived revolving door of politicians landing cushy jobs within industry after their mandates end.

Gabriel, who served under Angela Merkel as vice chancellor for four years until March 2018 and led the SPD until 2017, was hired by the company Tönnies in March to shore up its exports to China in case of an outbreak of African swine fever, which farmers fear could ravage the country’s pork industry, Europe’s largest.

Stephan Weil, the state premier of Lower Saxony, called Sigmar Gabriel’s actions “disturbing and embarrassing.”

The former minister confirmed the report and said he terminated what was initially supposed to be a two-year contract after only three months. “I had to leave this role on May 31, 2020, due to a severe illness and a complicated surgical operation,” Gabriel told ARD.

But while Germany has so far managed to keep African swine fever at bay, it’s COVID-19 that has caused a serious headache for Tönnies, the country’s biggest meat producer. Last month, over 1,500 employees at the company’s main abattoir in North Rhine-Westphalia became infected with coronavirus. The outbreak within the company’s mostly migrant workforce was so severe that the entire district where the plant is located was forced into lockdown.

The incident brought the poor working conditions at Tönnies’ facilities under renewed scrutiny: Experts say cramped workers’ housing and the firm’s reliance on temporary contracts that, among other things, deny sick leave, were to blame for the spread.

The revelations about Gabriel’s temporary post prompted a chorus of disapproval from his own party.

“We have core values and every upstanding Social Democrat should know which side they are on,” the current party leaders, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, told German news site Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland in a joint statement.

Stephan Weil, the state premier of Lower Saxony, called the former party heavyweight’s actions “disturbing and embarrassing.”

Gabriel responded to the criticism in Der Spiegel, saying: “I don’t see anything problematic about a consulting contract with a large employer.”

“For normal people, €10,000 is a lot of money. But in the industry, it really isn’t that much. I am no longer a politician,” he added.

It’s not the first time the former SPD leader’s career has attracted controversy since he quit politics. In May, Deutsche Bank’s shareholders approved the lender’s appointment of Gabriel to its supervisory board amid heavy criticism. In late 2019, a separate outcry eventually forced Gabriel to turn down a job as head of the VDA car lobby.

Critics argue these instances are symptomatic of revolving doors for German politicians.

“Sigmar Gabriel is neither a banking expert nor a food specialist, yet he gets those high-paying jobs for Deutsche Bank and now Tönnies,” Léa Briand, a spokesperson with transparency watchdog Abgeordnetenwatch, told POLITICO.

The group is campaigning for a three-year cooling-off period for politicians until they can move into the corporate world, instead of the current 18 months.

“But this would require lawmakers to pass a law that clearly goes against their own financial interests, therefore that isn’t happening anytime soon,” Briand said.

Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email pro@politico.eu to request a complimentary trial.





Source link

Buddy embroiled in Aboriginal flag controversy


“The issue is that there is currently no other way to promote or use the flag.”

Queensland-based WAM Clothing says it holds the exclusive worldwide licence for the use of the Aboriginal flag on clothing, via a deal with Aboriginal man Harold Thomas, who designed the iconic flag in 1971. Both the website and T-shirts state that Franklin’s products have been made pursuant to Mr Thomas’ 1971 copyright.

The company issued cease and desist letters to Indigenous people who have looked to sell products with the image of the flag.

A Buddy Franklin Authentic T-shirt label.

A Buddy Franklin Authentic T-shirt label.

Peris’ lawyer, Peter Francis, who is a partner at Francis Abourizk Lightowlers, has written to the Governor-General in a bid to divest WAM of its legal rights.

“I’ve never met [Franklin]. But this is why we’re upset. Everything we’ve been fighting for, for the past 18 months, for him to go and do what he’s doing is a kick in the guts for all of us,” Peris told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

“That’s what we’re angry about. If you want to be a leader for our mob, then do right by our mob.

“It was Aboriginal people that gave rise to the flag. We gave it the value. That’s why we’re angry at WAM, who’s profiting off the value of that flag.”

Nova Peris.

Nova Peris.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The Aboriginal flag was officially recognised as a flag of Australia in 1995.

In a letter written by Mr Francis, representing Peris, Aboriginal artist Michael Connolly and Aboriginal community healthcare leader Laura Thompson, the Governor-General is told that “the flag has been [mired] in copyright and licensing controversies, which are eroding its legitimacy and causing great distress in Australia’s Aboriginal and wider communities”.

“The essential premise of the free the flag movement is that the rights of all Australians to use the flag should not be constrained by the claims of the copyright infringement and the cease and desist correspondence being issued to various Aboriginal charities by WAM Clothing Pty Ltd and the claimed litigation agents and licensees of Harold Thomas, the copyright holder of the flag,” Mr Francis wrote.

Ms Thompson, a Gunditjmara woman, is among those to have received a “cease and desist” letter, after her organisation Clothing the Gap, which describes itself as a Victorian Aboriginal-owned and led social enterprise, sought to sell products featuring the flag.

A post on WAM Clothing’s Instagram page says that “Harold Thomas will be paid a royalty for every piece of clothing sold by WAM Clothing”.

WAM was founded in 2018 by Semele Moore and Ben Wooster. Mr Wooster also founded Birubi Art Pty Ltd, which is now in liquidation. That business was fined $2.3 million by the Federal Court after being found guilty of misleading consumers into buying thousands of pieces of fake Aboriginal art.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Peris’ run around Uluru with the Sydney Olympic torch. She was the first runner on Australian soil for that year’s torch relay.

Loading

In 1996, she won an Olympic gold medal in hockey before switching to a career in athletics in which she claimed two Commonwealth Games gold medals. She served as a Labor senator between 2013 and 2016.

“There’s nothing greater for me as a sportsperson than seeing a non-Indigenous person on TV in front of millions of viewers, wearing a beautifully designed jumper by an Aboriginal person and you’re wearing our flag,” Peris said.

“And to me, when a non-Indigenous person is wearing our flag that says to me that, that person values, that person acknowledges our history. That’s a very powerful statement. And what WAM is doing is telling people they have to pay for that. Why should they have to pay for that? You don’t have to pay for the use of the Australian flag.

“WAM are profiting from that. You’re profiting from my achievements, [Cathy] Freeman’s achievements, Eddie Betts’ achievements. All of us mob.”

Franklin last week on Instagram threw his support behind the Black Lives Matter movement, which was turbocharged in Australia following the death of black American man George Floyd at the hands of police.

“Justice for all. What’s happening in the US is happening on our own soil and all around the world. Thoughts and prayers are with George Floyd’s family and all affected by this tragedy and the tragedies before his murder,” Franklin wrote.

“In some ways Australia’s criminalisation of its black citizens is even more pronounced than the United States, but we don’t have music, movies and TV shows explaining it to us as regularly.”

WAM and the Swans declined to comment publicly.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading



Source link