Thomson union printer raided over credit card

Police this morning raided the house of the man accused of providing secret commissions to the Health Services Union's former general secretary Craig Thomson and the union's head Michael Williamson.

Detectives from Strike Force Carnarvon executed a search warrant at the Palm Beach house of printer John Gilleland, 65, and his wife, Carron, shortly before 7am today.

Several hours later, police from the computer crime squad arrived to assist in the search of the Gillelands' house.

A Herald investigation last year revealed that Mr Williamson and Mr Thomson were provided with American Express cards by Mr Gilleland, who runs a graphic design and printing business.

The credit cards were issued in the names of Mr Thomson and Mr Williamson, but were attached to Mr Gilleland's account and the bills incurred on those cards were allegedly paid for by Mr Gilleland.

The Herald has previously reported that Mrs Gilleland allegedly complained to senior union officials that Mr Williamson had "run amok" with the credit card.

He even paid his private school fees on it; this was not part of the deal," Mrs Gilleland allegedly said. Mrs Gilleland today denied that this occurred or that the converstation ever took place.

Mr Gilleland's company, Communigraphix, which he runs from his two-storey house in Barrenjoey Road, receives $680,000 a year to produce 10 issues of the union's newsletter, the Health Standard.

Either offering or receiving a benefit as an inducement to act in a certain way in business dealings may constitute a criminal offence, which can attract penalties of up to seven years' imprisonment.

Mr Williamson, who is on paid leave from the union, and Mr Thomson, who became the federal member for Dobell in 2007, have denied any wrongdoing.

This morning's police raid is not the printer's first brush with the law.

In 1984, he and his brother, Ian, were arrested by federal police over their alleged role in using their printing company to produce counterfeit German currency.

The quality of the notes was so good that they were given a seven out of 10 rating by the Reserve Bank.

While John Gilleland was acquitted by a jury in 1986, at a subsequent trial, Ian was found guilty and sentenced to five years' jail.

Mr Thomson is subject of two other investigations being conducted by the Victorian Police and Fair Work Australia into allegations that he used his union-issued credit card to withdraw $100,000 in cash advances and to pay for prostitutes. This is a separate card to the one that was the subject of today's police raid.

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This reporter is on Twitter: @Kate_McClymont

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