The Australian Federal Police has charged a New South Wales man with a foreign interference offence, after he allegedly accepted money in exchange for information about national security issues.
- It is alleged two foreign intelligence officers offered a man money for information about Australian national security
- The 55-year-old businessman was arrested at his Bondi home
- He is scheduled to appear before Parramatta Local Court on Saturday
The AFP alleges two foreign intelligence officers contacted the man, offering him payment for information about Australian defence, economic and national security arrangements.
It is alleged the Australian man compiled reports for the officers, and received payment for them.
The arrest — at a house in Bondi — follows a joint ASIO and Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce investigation that found the 55-year-old businessman had received payment for reports from individuals “working for a foreign intelligence service”.
According to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), while overseas, the Australian national met with two representatives of a think tank after being approached by another man on social media.
“On a number of occasions, the man met with two individuals, known to him as ‘Ken’ and ‘Evelyn’,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Krissy Barrett said.
“[They] offered the man money to obtain information about Australian defence, economic and national security arrangements, plus matters relating to other countries.
“The AFP will allege ‘Ken’ and ‘Evelyn’ work for a foreign intelligence service and are undertaking intelligence-collection activities.”
Other individuals who may have been approached by “Ken” and “Evelyn” are being urged by the AFP to contact the National Security Hotline.
If convicted, the arrested man faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
The man is scheduled to appear before Parramatta Local Court on Saturday, charged with one count of reckless foreign interference, contrary to section 92.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
He is the second person charged by the task force since national security laws were passed in 2018.