SA’s French supremo sacked amid corruption allegations
SOUTH Australia’s sole representative in France has been sacked by the State Government after she faced new Italian court proceedings over alleged corruption.
Corinne Namblard has been sacked by Agent General Bill Muirhead just weeks after Premier Jay Weatherill opened the Government’s new French office. Italian authorities allege Galaxy – a Luxembourg-based equity fund for which Ms Namblard was chief executive – was involved in improper dealings with a Tuscan bank that was the controlling shareholder of Siena airport.
Galaxy was successful in winning a deal to privatise and expand the airport. The accusations forced her to quit the Qantas board in 2013, but did not prevent Mr Weatherill from appointing her to the new role, where she was paid 175,000 euros ($263,000) a year.
Ms Namblard has denied the allegations, telling reporters in 2015 that they were “politically driven” and “played up by the media in Australia”.
In a statement, Mr Muirhead said the new legal proceedings were “inconsistent with Ms Namblard’s ability to continue in her role”.
“At the time of Ms Nam- blard’s nomination, the State Government and the Office of the Agent General were aware of the allegations surrounding her dealings involving an airport in Italy from 2007,” he said.
“Extensive steps were undertaken to satisfy the State Government and the Office of the Agent General legal proceedings surrounding these allegations had been resolved.
The Office of the Agent General will continue support- ing the strong relationship we have with France, as it did before Ms Namblard’s appointment earlier this year.”
Mr Weatherill said the sacking was a “disappointing development but I support the Agent General’s decision”.
Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said the sacking was “another embarrassing blunder that damages South Australia’s reputation”.
“When did Mr Weatherill find out about this and if it was before today, why didn’t he tell South Australians when he found out?,” he said. “Mr Weatherill’s personal judgment must be drawn into question.”
Last week, The Advertiser revealed the state’s chief information officer, Veronica Theriault, had been arrested, charged and sacked for alleged dishonesty amid claims she used multiple identities, faked a CV and lied to get her job.