Police raid Channel Seven over Schapelle Corby interview

Released from prison: Schapelle Corby covered her face when she left jail. Photo: Justin McManus The offices of Channel Seven were raided by the AFP this morning. Photo: Tamara Dean
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Media gather outside the Pyrmont office of Channel Seven. Photo: Ben Rushton

Mike Willesee: he says Channel Seven has not made any payment to Schapelle Corby. Photo: Justin McManus

The Australian Federal Police raid on Channel Seven’s Sydney office “will find no payment for Schapelle Corby because no payment has been made”, network personality Mike Willesee has declared in Bali.

He also said he had spoken to Corby for the first time and though she had suffered mental illness she had been fine when they spoke.

As police were still searching Channel Seven’s headquarters, Willesee emerged in Bali to say “there is no deal” with the Corby family. Seven, he said, had bought nothing yet: “But we have, through a lot of hard work, positioned ourselves so that if there is an interview, we’ll be first in line”.

Seven’s “hard work” so far includes exclusive access to the paroled drug smuggler, renting luxury villas alongside the Corby family in Bali and providing three or more security guards to protect Schapelle from other media in the area.

Federal police raided the Pyrmont and Eveleigh offices of Channel Seven as part of a proceeds of crime investigation on Tuesday morning. Officers remained inside the building at 1.30pm.

The network is reporting that it is to do with its dealings with Schapelle Corby.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said: “The AFP can confirm it has executed a number of search warrants in Sydney in relation to an ongoing Proceeds of Crime Act matter. As this matter is ongoing it’s not appropriate for the AFP to comment further.”

Twelve AFP officers arrived at the Pyrmont offices about 8.55am. Channel Seven tried to prevent the officers from coming into their Pyrmont office, where the company’s executive and corporate arms are located.

The network aired footage of a Channel Seven worker refusing them entry, saying “you are on our premises”.

Staff proceeded to film police executing the search warrants, which included taking documents and speaking to employees.

In the footage, an AFP officer became angry that Channel Seven staff were filming them.

“There are rules that, umm, allow us to do our duty and the biggest thing in the search warrant is the hindrance of our duty,” the officer said.

Channel Seven reporters tweeted pictures of police inside and outside the network’s headquarters.

Gus Brusno, who described himself on Twitter as a media student, tweeted: ”Something pretty big is happening #Schapelle Corby wise right now” followed by a picture 20 minutes later of at least eight black-suited officers gathering in the foyer of a Channel Seven building.

Seven reporter Damien Smith tweeted the same picture, saying the AFP officers were ”executing #Schappelle search warrant” at the Pyrmont building.

An AFP spokeswoman confirmed that more than two warrants were being executed but she would not say where because the operation was ongoing.

Police also raided the magazine arm of Seven West Media in Eveleigh and it is believed they searched the office of Kim Wilson, editor of New Idea, which has a rumoured partnership deal with Corby and Sunday Night.

They were also filmed asking where the executive producers of Sunday Night are located. If the Corby interview goes ahead, it will be shown on the Sunday Night program.

An AFP spokesman said Sunday Night’s offices in Paddington had not been raided nor had Seven’s offices in North Sydney and Martin Place.

However, Channel Seven said it expected the Martin Place premises to be visited by police.

Commercial director Bruce McWilliam told News Corp that documents were handed over last week as part of a Proceeds of Crime production order and Monday’s raids were a “gross over-reaction” by “some heavy-handed goon”.

He said a senior government minister called him to apologise for the raids.

#BREAKING: AFP officers are currently raiding Seven West offices in an investigation into #Schapelle Corby proceeds. pic.twitter爱杭州同城论坛m/mSUiliNff2— 7News Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) February 17, 2014