Accused WA bureaucrat has prize cash held

Accused WA bureaucrat has prize cash held

RACING and Wagering Western Australia is withholding prize money to a high-ranking bureaucrat and his co-accused as the thoroughbred owners face accusations they stole tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds.

Paul Whyte, 56, remains in hospital after an incident, believed to be self harm, at his upmarket Perth home two days after he was charged with corruption.

His close associate Jacob Anthonisz, 43, is reporting to police daily as part of bail conditions.

In a statement on Thursday, the RWWA confirmed the pair’s numerous interests in racing, which include currently competing horses, broodmares and other progeny.

The racing authority confirmed other members of their ownership syndicates are now left footing the bills for the animals, saying they were “under the care and control of others not connected to the alleged matters who are as a result incurring associated costs”.

Payment of any prize money to the pair and their immediate family is being withheld until further notice, pending instruction from authorities.

“Any prize money or breeding bonus payments will be paid to connections other than Mr Whyte and Mr Anthonisz,” RWWA said.

Premier Mark McGowan confirmed Whyte, a Department of Communities executive whose salary is about $240,000, was suspended on full pay.

“We took steps to suspend his pay and I was insistent on that earlier this week, that his pay be stopped,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Wednesday.

“Apparently, under the law, there’s a one-week requirement before such time as that can happen … that means on Friday, his pay will be stopped.”

Paul Whyte is understood to be in a critical condition in hospital. Picture: 7News

Mr McGowan said it was “unwise” that Whyte, who paid a $500,000 personal undertaking and a $500,000 surety, had been granted bail.

The premier will next week unveil the terms of reference for an inquiry into alleged corruption in the state’s housing authority.

“Obviously the whole thing is appalling, but clearly we are taking huge steps to stamp out corruption across the public sector,” Mr McGowan said.

The pair allegedly raised false invoices for more than $2.5 million in payments to two shell companies.

They spent a night in custody before their first appearance in Perth Magistrates Court last week, where prosecutors said further charges were likely as there was evidence of further theft of $20 million to $25 million.

Whyte and Anthonisz are due to return to court on December 13.

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