Australian police are looking into the murky background of Gerald Shirtcliff, the convicted fraudster who oversaw construction of the doomed CTV building in Christchurch.

Also known as William Anthony Fisher, he is already under investigation by New Zealand police over claims he stole the identity of a British engineer and faked his degree.

Last month, APNZ revealed that Mr Shirtcliff, 67, had his engineering degree revoked after an investigation by the University of New South Wales.

He has already lost his lucrative contract with global engineering consultancy WorleyParsons, and his membership of Engineers Australia was cancelled after an internal probe upheld claims he falsely assumed the identity, including an engineering degree, of former colleague Mr Fisher.


Engineers Australia has referred the case to the federal police.

Mr Shirtcliff, now living in Brisbane, hit the headlines this year when he initially refused to give evidence at the royal commission into the collapse of the six-storey CTV building, which killed 115 people in the February 2011 earthquake.

He finally fronted after it emerged he had been jailed in 2005 for fraud.

During the hearing, he was accused by commission lawyers of distancing himself from responsibility after he claimed limited involvement in the building's construction, despite being construction manager.

He told the hearing he was a graduate civil engineer. Asked why he lived in Australia under the Fisher identity, he said it was because of "family issues" going back 40 years.