Police and ASIC Must Investigate Alleged, Potentially Fraudulent Behaviour by Origin Energy

Published: February 16, 2017

Lock the Gate is calling on ASIC and the Queensland Police Service to investigate serious allegations made against Origin Energy by former employee, whistleblower Sally McDow, about potentially criminal behaviour and activities that could have breached the Corporations Act.

The complaints come just as Origin takes a $1.9B write-down off their assets, including over $1B write-down on their Queensland APLNG CSG to LNG export project which is the subject of many of the allegations.

"Since these explosive whistleblower allegations were filed in court and revealed in national media, sending shock waves across the community, the Queensland and federal governments have failed to take action,” Lock the Gate President Drew Hutton said.

"The allegations are deeply concerning for regional communities trapped living in gasfields against their will and include claims that serious leaks and contamination went deliberately unreported and basic maintenance was not conducted.

"We’re calling on ASIC to investigate whether the alleged behaviour breaches the Corporations Act and on the Queensland Police Force to investigate potential criminal behaviour in the allegations.

"Specifically, we are encouraging ASIC to investigate whether Origin Energy has failed to disclose information that a reasonable person would expect to have a material effect on the price or value of the company or whether the company has made any false or misleading statements.

"We also believe a police investigation is warranted given the allegations include potential fraudulent falsification of records and possible fabrication of misleading accounts.

"For example, the allegations include potential gaps in the monitoring equipment which is used to calculate petroleum royalties payable to the Queensland Government, which may have led to the potential loss of ‘tens of millions of dollars’ to taxpayers, but was not reported to authorities.

"Queensland taxpayers and farming families forced to live in Origin’s gasfields deserve answers and strong action to haul the gas giant into line," Mr Hutton said.

The Queensland Police Service has so far refused to accept the complaint from Lock the Gate Alliance, claiming that it can only accept a complaint if it is provided by the Queensland Government.

In January, Lock the Gate Alliance wrote to the Premier asking her to urgently investigate the Origin allegations, and has recently received a response stating that she has passed the information on to relevant Ministers.

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