Fraud accused WA official in critical condition

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

A SENIOR bureaucrat accused of Western Australia’s biggest public sector theft is understood to be in a critical condition in hospital after an incident at his upmarket Perth home.

Department of Communities assistant director-general of corporate operations Paul Whyte, 56, was charged with two counts of corruption on Thursday after police raided his home at Mosman Park.

They allege Whyte and his close associate, 43-year-old physiotherapist Jacob Anthonisz, raised false invoices for more than $2.5 million in payments to two shell companies.

The two men spent the night in custody but were granted bail in Perth Magistrates Court on Friday, when prosecutors said there was evidence of further theft of $20 million to $25 million dating back to 2008, and more charges were likely.

On Sunday, police, paramedics, firefighters and a HAZMAT unit descended on Whyte’s home, holding up a white sheet as he was wheeled into an ambulance.

Sir Charles Gairdner hospital and WA Police would not provide an update on Whyte’s status on Monday, but Police Minister Michelle Roberts said she had been told he was in a critical condition.

“I don’t have any update,” she told reporters.

Department of Communities assistant director-general of corporate operations Paul Whyte, 56, was charged with two counts of corruption.

Ms Roberts said she was surprised the magistrate granted Whyte bail but hadn’t heard the reasons.

“The judge has made that decision weighing up the circumstances,” she said.

The minister declined to say whether she believed Whyte should again be brought into custody.

“That’s not my call – that’s for professional people to independently and objectively make that call.

“I’m sure there’s lots of people who will look back and say ‘he should have not been in a position where this could have occurred’.

“People will want to see both of these men remain safe, they will want to see them proceed through the criminal justice system and measures will need to be put in place.”

The pair, who allegedly spent the money on racehorses, paying a horse stud service in New Zealand, and personal expenses and bills, are due to return to court on December 13.

They are forbidden contact with each other and had to surrender their passports as part of their bail conditions.

Whyte paid a $500,000 personal undertaking and a $500,000 surety, while Anthonisz paid a $75,000 personal undertaking plus a $100,000 surety.

Lifeline 13 11 14
beyondblue 1300 22 4636