Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE, VIC: Victorian police this afternoon laid 75 charges against Sonya Causer, the woman accused of stealing almost $20 million from retailer Clive Peeters.

Causer is charged with stealing $19.4 million from Clive Peeters over an extended period. Victorian police have confirmed that she is currently free on police bail, and is due to appear in court on Friday. Causer had not been charged with the separate crimes of fraud or embezzlement.

Speaking to Current.com.au this afternoon, Clive Peeters MD Greg Smith said that he was relieved that this next phase of the ordeal was completed.

“I had confirmation from the Victoria Police that they have officially charged Sonya Causer with 75 counts of theft against Clive Peeters, that’s all I’m aware of. They’ve said that they’ll keep me informed of the progress in the case and court appearances as they go forward,” he said.

Much of Smith’s relief at the laying of these charges is the evidence it provides that Clive Peeters did not cut a deal with Causer to return the stolen funds in exchange for leniency.

“In a sense it’s good to at last have confirmation that those charges have laid, there’s been suggestions that maybe a deal had been done by Clive Peeters to avoid these charges but we’ve been refuting that throughout.”

When asked if a deal was ever considered, Smith said, “No not all, you can’t do that, you can’t deal away criminal charges that the police lay.

“The whole thing’s nonsensical: the suggestion. At least [these charges] proves there was no deal ever done and charges are now in the hands of the police and a court case will proceed.”

Although Clive Peeters is known in the industry as being a family business, Smith said he was not friendly with Causer outside of work. When asked whether Clive Peeters would be pushing for a gaol sentence should a conviction be recorded, Smith said:

“It’s not up to us, it’s up to the police and the courts. If she’s found guilty the court will sentence her accordingly.”