By James Wells

MELBOURNE: Clive Peeters chief executive officer, Greg Smith, has confirmed that “no deal has been cut” with the payroll officer who stole millions of dollars from the electrical retailer, and furthermore the matter is now in the hands of the Victoria Police.

“I would like to set our position straight on a few matters relating to some scurrilous reports which have been circulating over the last 24 hours,” said Smith.

“We would like to clarify that we have not cut any deal with Sonya Causer and we have not been in a position to do so. The pursuit of criminal charges is entirely a matter for the Police and it is entirely up to the Police to do what they feel is appropriate,” Smith said.

“We are vigorously pursuing our own commercial charges and the recovery of assets.”

Smith also commented on the timeline associated with the discovery of the missing millions which were siphoned off by Causer.

“The irregularity was discovered by our own finance department, not external auditors. Rather than being castigated, our finance department should be applauded for discovery of this fraud and putting us back in a position to recover the assets purchased out of our misappropriated funds as quickly as we have.

“With the help of our lawyers, Freehills, we then tracked down the property portfolio and we obtained court orders to freeze the assets and to transfer them back to our company. We brought in the Police immediately we had irrefutable proof. It is now in their hands, and that will take its own course. We have no ability to protect someone from criminal charges.”

In addition, Smith rubbished the claims that the company was putting its financials above all else.

“I reiterate that no deal was cut and it was outrageous to suggest that we were worrying only about the money and had put that above all else.

“Of course that is important but we have to think of our shareholders too and we need to protect their interests. That is why we asked for our shares to be put into voluntary suspension, so that our shareholders and the market are fully informed when we relist very shortly.”