DOWN­FALL OF A HIGH-FLYER COP

BODY­GUARD FOR THE PM, PO­LICE CHIEF’S RIGHT­HAND MAN — SO WHAT BROUGHT GARY FA­HEY UN­DONE? NATALIE O’BRIEN RE­VEALS ALL

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

AN Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice of­fi­cer who acted as a body­guard for Prime Min­is­ter Kevin Rudd, for­eign dig­ni­taries and AFP Po­lice Com­mis­sioner An­drew Colvin had a not-so-se­cret life with an out-of­con­trol gam­bling ad­dic­tion.

At the peak of his ca­reer, Gary John Fa­hey had top-se­cret gov­ern­ment clear­ances, rubbed shoul­ders at the high­est lev­els and trav­elled with the AFP Com­mis­sioner around the world at­tend­ing in­tel­li­gence and law en­force­ment brief­ings.

At the same time Fa­hey, who was in one of the AFP’s most de­mand­ing po­si­tions, was us­ing gam­bling as a stress re­liever — punting on horses, grey­hounds and har­ness rac­ing to bet any­where from $10 to $10,000 a time.

Un­til now the full story of his fall from grace, his po­ten­tially com­pro­mised na­tional se­cu­rity po­si­tion and his ap­par­ent unan­swered cries for help have never been re­vealed. It has never been made pub­lic that the 42-year-old of­fi­cer, on a sergeant’s salary of about $120,000, man­aged to gam­ble away more than a $1 mil­lion in eight years in a sin­gle bet­ting ac­count with­out rais­ing a mur­mur at the AFP.

It has also never been made pub­lic that he gam­bled an­other $77,202 in a sep­a­rate ac­count in the eight months be­fore he was caught tak­ing $45,000 in gov­ern­ment funds us­ing his AFP-is­sued Citibank Master­card.

Fa­hey was the good guy every­one liked. Col­leagues say he and Comm Colvin were ex­tremely close.

But his world un­rav­elled af­ter he took the money and lodged false ex­pla­na­tions and a false statu­tory dec­la­ra­tion. He was charged with 64 of­fences that were even­tu­ally rolled to­gether and he pleaded guilty to one count of dis­hon­estly caus­ing a loss. The other charges were with­drawn.

He es­caped a max­i­mum five-year j jail term and re­ceived an in­ten­sive com­mu­nity. correction­s or­der It ex­pires to be this served week. in the

The Sun­day Tele­graph has o ob­tained court doc­u­ments that re­veal th the money was fun­nelled into ac ac­counts with Lux­bet, Crown­bet, C Clas­sicBet, Lad­brokes and Wil­liam H Hill bet­ting to pay var­i­ous bills, and $ $1300 1 to a Can­berra law firm.

On one oc­ca­sion, Fa­hey ad­mit­ted wi with­draw­ing $600 from his AFP cre credit card in Bris­bane and spend­ing it o on food, beer and gam­bling.

He also ad­mit­ted rack­ing up debts of m more than $100,000 across eight gam­bling and loan ac­counts and a home loan of $475,000. He said he had drawn $70,000 on his mort­gage and bor­rowed $30,000 from his for­mer part­ner.

Court doc­u­ments re­veal the ex­tent of Fa­hey’s gam­bling and the lack of sup­port when he re­vealed his ad­dic­tion. It has also laid bare the in­ad­e­qua­cies of the “se­cu­rity vet­ting pro­cesses” sup­pos­edly en­sur­ing law en­force­ment and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers trusted with the na­tion’s se­crets are not in po­si­tions where they might be ma­nip­u­lated, co­erced or black­mailed.

Law en­force­ment ex­perts said Fa­hey’s ad­mis­sions about his gam­bling ad­dic­tion should have trig­gered wel­fare sup­port and high-level in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the se­cu­rity vet­ting agency, es­pe­cially be­cause of Fa­hey’s trusted po­si­tion in the Com­mis­sioner’s of­fice.

“A spi­ralling debt level, out-of­con­trol gam­bling and high-risk ac­tiv­i­ties makes the per­son vul­ner­a­ble to ap­proaches by or­gan­ised crime groups,” one ex­pert said. “This should have raised a red flag — Fa­hey was ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer to the AFP Com­mis­sioner, which meant he saw ev­ery­thing the Com­mis­sioner saw.”

There is no ev­i­dence link­ing Fa­hey to any or­gan­ised crime group.

It was not as if Fa­hey’s gam­bling prob­lems were not well know for a long time. Many peo­ple knew he loved a beer and a punt, and his re­la­tion­ship with an­other AFP em­ployee broke up be­cause of it.

In a pre-sen­tence in­ter­view with foren­sic psy­chi­a­trist Dr Antony Henderson, Fa­hey ad­mit­ted he had gam­bled from the age of eight and through­out his en­tire adult life.

Fa­hey be­gan his ca­reer in 1999 work­ing in crime op­er­a­tions and as a surveil­lance of­fi­cer be­fore mov­ing to East Ti­mor as a se­nior li­ai­son of­fi­cer.

From 2003 to 2014 he worked on and off in close per­sonal pro­tec­tion teams, in­clud­ing for Mr Rudd and as body­guard for vis­it­ing US of­fi­cials, win­ning plau­dits for his “ex­cel­lent lead­er­ship skills” and “af­fa­ble, ma­ture and easy­go­ing na­ture”.

Dr Henderson’s re­port said that when Fa­hey started work­ing in close per­sonal pro­tec­tion in 2002, his gam­bling es­ca­lated “on ac­count of hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cantly higher in­come and hav­ing more time on his hands”.

The re­port said Fa­hey’s gam­bling wors­ened in 2007 af­ter the death of a fam­ily mem­ber. At the time he also de­vel­oped symp­toms of de­pres­sion, had sui­ci­dal thoughts and had also ac­crued a debt of about $60,000.

‘Spi­ralling debt, high-risk ac­tiv­i­ties — this should have

raised a red flag’

Fa­hey said that he had re­ported his gam­bling ad­dic­tion when he first joined the AFP and nu­mer­ous times at se­cu­rity clear­ance up­dates ev­ery five years.

In the two weeks be­fore his of­fend­ing be­gan in 2015, Fa­hey said he at­tended the AFP coun­selling ser­vice and con­tacted Gam­bling Help Re­la­tion­ships Aus­tralia.

Yet Fa­hey told Dr Henderson he had “re­ceived no as­sess­ment, mon­i­tor­ing, coun­selling or other treat­ment for his con­di­tion”.

Dr Henderson di­ag­nosed Fa­hey with a ma­jor de­pres­sive and gam­bling dis­or­der.

“He gam­bles when he feels dis­tressed, had at­tempted to con­ceal the ex­tent of his in­volve­ment in gam­bling, has bor­rowed money to cover debts from gam­bling, made mul­ti­ple un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts to con­trol or stop gam­bling, and gam­bling has had a sig­nif­i­cant ad­verse im­pact on his re­la­tion­ships and re­sulted in the loss of his ca­reer.”

A Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion request re­vealed po­ten­tial im­pli­ca­tions for agency se­cu­rity were not even dis­cussed af­ter Fa­hey’s fraud had been dis­cov­ered.

The AFP claimed in re­sponse to the FOI that there was no cor­re­spon­dence, emails, let­ters or re­ports, talk­ing points and or brief­ings re­gard­ing the po­ten­tial se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions in­volv­ing and/or flow­ing from his fraud against the AFP and gam­bling debts or any ac­tion taken to mit­i­gate such se­cu­rity is­sues or com­pli­ca­tions.

How­ever, The Sun­day Tele­graph has seen emails show­ing Mr Colvin was told in Jan­uary 2017, af­ter the fraud was dis­cov­ered, that Fa­hey had been gam­bling on be­half of oth­ers out­side of Aus­tralia and owed large amounts to overseas pun­ters.

It is also known Mr Colvin asked pro­fes­sional stan­dards to look into the is­sue of wel­fare for Fa­hey and “the broader im­pli­ca­tions for the agency”.

But ap­proaches by a de­tec­tive sergeant from Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards were marked “un­of­fi­cial” and ap­peared to go no fur­ther.

The for­mer head of the Na­tional Crime Au­thor­ity Peter Faris QC said the AFP should have con­ducted a thor­ough foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion to make sure there was noth­ing big­ger than that and in­ves­ti­gated if his se­cu­rity had been com­pro­mised at any stage.

An AFP spokes­woman said they were sat­is­fied all al­le­ga­tions in re­la­tion to Fa­hey were fully in­ves­ti­gated and have been fully tested through the court process. dai­lytele­graph.com.

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Gary Fa­hey ar­rives at his gym in Wool­loongabba, Bris­bane, last month.

Gary Fa­hey (right), and (above) his gym in Wool­loongabba in Bris­bane.

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