Further damning details of extraordinary financial inducements to disgraced former V/Line CEO – Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan’s hand-picked James Pinder – were aired today at IBAC’s public hearings into allegations of serious corrupt conduct in Victoria’s public transport sector.
This morning’s witness, Marie Tsakopoulos, Contract Manager, Transclean appeared evasive and unable to remember the details of many large transactions of $100,000 and above.
In December 2018, Tsakopoulos lent V/Line CEO James Pinder $320,000 to assist him in purchasing a house in Williamstown. The loan was unsecured and for a term of 3 years at a rate of 8.5 per cent. The money lent was ostensibly from her but the arrangement disguised its real source, Transclean. Transclean had been awarded the contract to clean V/Line trains.
In evidence heard by IBAC today:
- In December 2018 Tsakopoulos lent Pinder $200,000 of her money and $120,000 from a loan from George Haritos and Alex Kyritsis, a brother-in-law of Haritos and Director of Transclean.
- She was aware that Pinder was CEO of V/Line. She was at the time Contract Manager for V/Line. She understood the loans were personal in nature and not from Transclean.
- Haritos never informed Tsakopoulos that the loan to Pinder could never be seen as coming from him.
Jacinta Allan and Labor have picked their own special V/Line Board, many of whom are still in place. How is it that the V/Line Board was not able to provide proper oversight to prevent this corrupt behaviour occurring?
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Public Transport (Metropolitan), David Davis:
“What reason would Marie Tsakopoulos, Contract Manager for V/Line at Transclean have to make a $320,000 unsecured personal loan to V/Line CEO James Pinder?
“What reason would George Haritos and Alex Kyritsis have to lend $120,000 to Marie Tsakopoulos to on-lend to James Pinder?
“Why couldn’t James Pinder just get a mortgage, like ordinary Victorians?
“Jacinta Allan and Labor chose James Pinder as CEO of V/Line and appointed the V/Line Board. How is it that the V/Line Board is still in place given their failure to oversight the body properly? They should be sacked for incompetence today by Daniel Andrews and so should Jacinta Allan.”