Australian man charged with foreign interference
Editors note: Footage of the arrest and grabs from AFP Assistant Commissioner Krissy Barrett available on Hightail.
A NSW man, 55, has today been charged with a foreign interference offence by the AFP as part of a Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce investigation initiated by ASIO.
The Australian national, who normally lives overseas, is scheduled to appear before Parramatta Local Court on Saturday, 15 April 2023, to face one count of Reckless Foreign Interference, contrary to section 92.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 15 years’ imprisonment.
The Australian man, who operates a business overseas, recently returned to Australia. He was arrested at a residence in the Sydney suburb of Bondi on Friday, 14 April 2023.
The AFP will allege an individual, purporting to be from a think tank, contacted the Australian man via social media while he was offshore and made arrangements for him to meet with their representatives.
It is alleged that on a number of occasions the man met with two individuals, known to him as “Ken” and “Evelyn”, who offered the man money to obtain information about Australian defence, economic and national security arrangements, plus matters relating to other countries.
It is alleged the Australian man compiled a number of reports for the individuals and received payment for those reports.
The AFP will allege “Ken” and “Evelyn” work for a foreign intelligence service and are undertaking intelligence collection activities.
The AFP believes other Australian citizens and residents may have been approached by “Ken” and “Evelyn” and is urging those individuals to provide information to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.
Espionage and foreign interference pose a serious threat to Australia’s sovereignty, security and integrity of our national institutions.
The Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce, which includes ASIO and the AFP, is working to disrupt the threat and mitigate the harm from foreign interference and espionage.
The man is the second individual charged by the Taskforce since the Commonwealth Parliament passed the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill in 2018.
AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297