Ex Aussie MP found guilty of mis-using funds to pay for escorts

Former Australian federal MP Craig Thomson has been found guilty of dishonesty offences over the misuse of his Health Services Union credit cards to pay for escorts.

Thomson has been found guilty of spending money on escorts and making cash withdrawals, but not guilty of charges related to adult movies.

The 49-year-old has been accused of using his Health Services Union credit card to pay for escorts and personal expenses while he was the organisation's national secretary and a federal Labor MP.

He pleaded not guilty to more than 140 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception, theft and obtaining property by deception, and strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Thomson has been accused of misusing a total of $28,449 between 2002 and 2008 but has been cleared of some offences.

Thomson has been found guilty of some charges that related to funds spent on spousal travel but the magistrate said some of the spending could not be proved to be criminal.

Thomson was found guilty of obtaining financial advantage by deception over the use of the cards to pay for cigarettes and for expenses incurred after he resigned from the union.

Mr Rozencwajg said Thomson ``must have known'' that using the credit cards to pay for escorts was not allowed under the union's rules.

However, he said buying movies while staying in hotels under union business did not meet the required standard to prove the charge of obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Mr Rozencwajg said it did not matter that the movies were pornographic.

He said it was an "affront to common sense'' that payments to escorts could ever be considered a legitimate expense.

Mr Rozencwajg said it was clear Thomson had no authorisation to make cash withdrawals with the cards, and found him guilty of 16 charges of theft totalling $6250.

He said on some occasions Thomson was guilty of deception by using the cards to pay for his then wife Christa to travel, but not guilty over other occasions in which he paid for her flights and accommodation.

Thomson showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

After the verdict was delivered, prosecutor Lesley Taylor SC unsuccessfully applied for Thomson to surrender his passport.

However, Mr Rozencwajg ordered that Thomson not leave Australia and to remain at a static address.

Mr Rozencwajg adjourned the case for a plea hearing on March 18.


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