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.

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