The West

The Liberal Party's candidate for Mandurah has been accused in State Parliament of "obstructing" a 2002 police investigation into the alleged theft of $430,000 from Health Solutions WA - the company operating Peel Health Campus.

Former WA footballer Tony Solin was the target of a sustained attack by shadow attorney-general John Quigley, who said Mr Solin was a long-time "stooge" for HSWA's biggest shareholder and former chairman Jon Fogarty.

Labor also claimed that links between HSWA and the Government were inappropriate after Mr Solin was given a $200,000 public relations job by HSWA at the hospital this year - only months before he was endorsed as the Liberal candidate for Mandurah.

"Mr Solin had never had any previous experience in PR," Mr Quigley said.

HSWA, which has the Government contract to manage Peel, is in negotiations for a contract extension and the green light to build a bigger private hospital nearby.

Mr Quigley told Parliament Mr Fogarty was charged with stealing a decade ago but Mr Solin's refusal to give police a statement left a hole in the evidence.

Eventually, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided it was not in the public interest to take the case to court and dropped the charge.

At the time, Mr Fogarty said the transaction had been a corporate one and his reputation had been tarnished unfairly.

The allegations were made by fellow HSWA directors, who claimed the $430,000 was transferred to private company Corporate Financial Services in 2000 without consent.

Mr Solin was the sole director of CFS, which was set up two weeks before the money arrived from HSWA at Mr Fogarty's direction.

Also caught up in the inquiry at the time was Richard Ellis, Premier Colin Barnett's former chief-of-staff, who was the signatory for the CFS account the $430,000 was paid into.

Before Mr Fogarty was charged, CFS paid the money back to HSWA.

"During that period a $10,000 donation was made to the Liberal Party by CFS," Mr Quigley said.

"This Government can't go out and say it's hard on law and order when its star candidate obstructs a police investigation."

Mr Barnett turned the attack back on the Opposition, saying Labor received a $15,000 donation from HSWA in 2008.

Health Minister Kim Hames said the allegations were "rubbish".

"Where is the truth in any of that," he said. "There was no prosecution. What on earth does that have to do with this Government?

"He (Solin) is our candidate for Mandurah and you're obviously worried about him."

Mr Solin could not be contacted for comment last night.

The West Australian

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