Former Leighton CFO has conviction quashed on appeal

1 October 2020, Written by Business News Australia

Former Leighton CFO has conviction quashed on appeal

Peter Alan Gregg, the former CFO of Leighton Holdings, received a verdict of acquittal yesterday after appealing his conviction on two counts of falsifying the books.

As such, the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed the two verdicts of guilty handed down in August 2018 and entered a verdict of acquittal on each count.

The original charges followed from a Fairfax Media expose in 2016 regarding a $15 million payment made to a consultancy in Dubai.

The payment instruction directed that USD$12.5 million be paid for 'marketing and advisory' services and that USD$2.5 million be paid as a 'loan'.

During the trial, the Crown alleged that the payment instruction was false because it did not describe the true purpose of the payment.

Gregg was then sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months on count one and two years on count two, to be served concurrently by way of an Intensive Correction Order.

Gregg successfully appealed against both his conviction and his sentence.

Chief Justice Bathurst said in his judgment it could not be made out, beyond reasonable doubt, that Gregg believed the payment to be "reckless".

"Up to the time of execution Mr Waugh and the appellant were seeking to have the $2.5 million treated as a loan," said Bathurst CJ.

"In these circumstances it does not seem to be open for the jury to find beyond reasonable doubt that when the appellant made the entry as to the purpose of the payment of $2.5 million, he did not believe that was the true purpose of the payment or was reckless in stating that that was the case."

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