Friday, May 10, 2013

PNG crime links to Cairns?

Only a month ago I posted on the darker aspects of the links between PNG and Cairns: PNG investors roll into Cairns. Last night a tweet was noted from the Cairns WIN news reporter with politicians and business lobbying for relaxed visa requirements with PNG.

Sarah Greenhalgh @GreenhalghSarah               
MP's urging the PM to consider a visa overhaul during her visit to , starting tonight. How would it benefit? Details
So with perfect timing this appeared in today's Brisbane Times: PNG graft suspect avoids arrest in Cairns on 457 visa; which includes:
"An alleged crime boss wanted in Papua New Guinea over the theft of $30 million has used a 457 visa issued by the Australian government to avoid arrest and prosecution.
Eremas Wartoto, accused of being one of PNG's most corrupt figures by anti-graft authorities, has been living in Cairns since mid-2011"

"Mr Wartoto is linked to powerful PNG politicians, including the country's Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, who controls the law firm representing him.
Mr Wartoto obtained his 457 visa after a Cairns car hire company he owns sponsored him because of a shortage of ''general corporate managers''."

"Records show more than 80 properties in the Cairns area have been bought by PNG investors since 2005, including four owned by Mr Wartoto."

The Queensland assets of Wartoto were apparently frozen last month by the courts. I wonder if the Cairns Post will report on it?

Update: Wartoto's visa has subsequently been cancelled and he has apparently been arrested in PNG. The story did get a run in the Cairns Post absent any mention of real estate investments. The Age published photos including the car rental business.


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