Mr Pinder prepared a document for Ms Tsakopoulos after being raided by IBAC investigators, it was said at the hearing, which summarized the nature of their relationship and the loan. Mr Pinder claimed he wrote the document to remind Ms Tsakopoulos of the details as “she is a little annoying”, which was categorically rejected by Mr Lawrie.
“I tell you quite frankly, Mr. Pinder, this is only a fiction,” said Mr. Lawrie. “This is a document you prepared and provided to Maria to settle a story between the two of you about where this $ 320,000 came from.”
“I panicked,” Pinder said.
Mr Pinder said he took the money because he was desperate to buy the property before his wife and stepson arrived from the UK, admitting he orchestrated a “ruse elaborate “which involved him taking money from” unusual sources, “including $ 10,000 in cash from him. real estate broker at the National Australia Bank.
Mr Pinder said he made a “mistake” and “in my heart I knew it was the wrong thing to do”.
When asked why he didn’t accept cash from people other than the V / Line vendors who had offered to lend him money, thus avoiding a conflict of interest, Mr Pinder replied: “I don’t know the answer to that question.”
Mr Pinder dropped several fundamental questions about financing his house, prompting Commissioner Robert Redlich, QC, to ask at one point, “What’s going on here?”
Mr Pinder said he regularly hangs out with employees of V / Line, Metro, Transclean and other Crown Casino vendors and at horse races.
Mr Lawrie accused Mr Pinder and Mr Bollas of allegedly “using their positions to financially benefit Transclean and themselves”.
Transclean made several payments to Mr. Pinder between late 2018 and early 2019, for a total of at least $ 320,000, “which were used to purchase the [Williamstown] ownership, and which ultimately goes back to Transclean, ”Lawrie said during the hearings.
Mr Pinder reportedly started using a burner phone to communicate with Transclean boss Mr Haritos and Mr Bollas after being appointed general manager of V / Line.
The commission heard the trio communicate this way for four years – in an attempt to keep their “transactions out of sight,” Lawrie said. The phones were underwritten on behalf of Transclean associates.
Mr. Pinder, Mr. Bollas and Mr. Haritos have known each other for almost a decade, with Mr. Bollas reporting to Mr. Pinder when he was in charge of rolling stock at Metro between 2012 and 2015, Mr. Lawrie said. Transclean was Metro’s cleaning contractor at the time. Mr. Haritos and some Transclean employees were invited to Mr. Pinder’s wedding.
Mr Pinder left Metro in 2015 and returned to the UK, but was poached as managing director of V / Line, where he started working at the end of 2016.
The IBAC has opened an investigation after detecting a number of “suspicious bank account transactions” between Mr. Pinder and “Transclean associates”.
In a separate 2017 investigation, the IBAC uncovered a “buddy jobs culture” that saw executives bend bidding rules to award important contracts to friends and associates.
The hearing continues.
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