Australian Federal Police raid Seven offices
The head of Seven West Media said he is surprised by today's Federal Police raids on Channel 7 offices across Sydney, calling it 'overkill'.
At least a dozen AFP officers raided Seven's headquarters at Jones Bay, and served a search warrant in relation to a possible proceeds of crime investigation into dealings between Schapelle Corby and Sunday Night.
The AFP also conducted a raid on the Pacific Magazines office in Eveleigh.
"We fully cooperated with requests made of us by the AFP last week including ongoing correspondence between the AFP and our lawyers," Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner said in a statement this afternoon.
"The AFP did not seem to accept that we have not reached an agreement or understanding with Schapelle Corby."
"We want to emphasize that at all times we have fully cooperated with the AFP in this matter.
"[Raids] involving around 30 police and eight squad cars to find information we have already provided seems like overkill to say the least.
"But what is most disturbing is to also seek to use search warrants to access all of our news and corporate records.
"This is without justification and quite possibly unprecedented for a media organisation."
Meanwhile, Seven journalist Mike Willesee said the network had nothing to hide, and could not say whether an interview with convicted drug trafficker Schapelle Corby would still go ahead.
First picture of Schapelle Corby 'unmasked' since release from jail
Willesee said that he had not spoken to Seven management about whether the interview will still go ahead.
"The first thing I want to say about the federal police raid it that it will finally nail the lie, of the $2 million payment, which has been repeated and repeated in the Australian media.. a lie, and it is a fantasy.. and we'll finally nail that," he said today.
"The AFP will find no payment to Schapelle Corby, because no payment has been made.”
"I've been talking to Schapelle, and they've been very good talks, but we haven't talked about the interview. The interview will take place when the Corby family is ready, and the Indonesians are ready.
"We have, through a lot of hard work, positioned ourselves so that if there is an interview we are first in line."
The AFP was visibly not comfortable with 7News cameras filming this morning's raids, according to 7News Sydney reporter Damien Smith.
"It is no secret that Sunday Night has been the frontrunner in seeking rights to get an exclusive interview with Corby following her nine years in jail," Smith said.
Officers insisted that filming constituted some sort of interference with the execution of the search warrant, according to Smith.
Seven's commercial director, Bruce McWilliam, said the raids were "outrageous".
“It’s a gross overreaction. The government has called to say they did not know this was happening,” he said.
“You’ve got some heavy-handed goon who thinks they can just come storming in and terrorise people who are trying to carry on their duties.”
“Full compliance has occurred. Documents were handed over immediately."
“We’ve given them everything we have. We don’t think it was what they were expecting to see, so they think we’re not cooperating with the order.”
An AFP spokesperson confirmed to 7News that it has executed a number of search warrants in relation to an ongoing Proceeds of Crime Act matter.
Under proceeds of crime legislation, any Australian derived income is liable to be forfeited.
"As this matter is ongoing, it is not appropriate for the AFP to comment any further," the statement concluded.
Last Friday, the Queensland government conceded it won't be able to pursue Corby over any money she makes from a media interview.
The concession from the state's attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie came just two days after Premier Campbell Newman asked him to explore how Queensland could confiscate any earnings she made.
"Following legal advice, the state is not in a position to pursue the matter further but we would provide any support to the federal government if it was able and chose to do so," Mr Bleijie said in a statement on Friday night.
There is speculation that Corby, a 36-year-old former beauty therapist now on parole, has been offered a six figure deal with the Seven Network.
Her sister Mercedes says speculated figures are "ridiculous".
Indonesian authorities are reportedly looking at ways to stop her from selling her story about the nine years she spent in a Bali jail for marijuana smuggling.
Indonesian Deputy Justice Minister, Denny Indrayana, has advised Corby against doing an interview which might breach her parole and could possibly put her back in Kerobokan jail.
Australian laws came into force in 2003, which gave federal authorities the power to confiscate literary proceeds derived from criminal activities.
But pursuing an Australian who profits from an overseas conviction is difficult.