Seven accuses AFP of 'overkill'

Seven accuses AFP of 'overkill'
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Seven West Media chief Tim Worner has slammed the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raid on Seven’s offices as “overkill”.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon Worner said Seven has cooperated with the AFP and denied reports that the company has reached an agreement with convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.

“A raid on our offices at Pyrmont and at Pacific Magazines and at our lawyers’ offices involving around 30 police and eight squad cars to find information we have already provided seems like overkill to say the least,” Worner said.

“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 organization.

“We see any interference in fair reporting and newsgathering as regrettable.”

The AFP raid occurred yesterday morning under the proceeds of crime act following reports Seven had agreed to pay Corby up to $2m for her first interview following her recent release from a Bali prison.

The full Seven West Media statement:

Seven can confirm that the Australian Federal Police today executed a number of search warrants on the company. These raids came as some surprise to us, given we fully cooperated with requests made of us by the AFP last week including ongoing correspondence between the AFP and our lawyers, all of which were responded to. Our lawyers’ offices were also raided despite their co-operation.

The AFP has previously asked for information on Schapelle Corby and any contract we may have entered into, and we provided all the information requested from us and instructed our lawyers to provide any additional information they might have. 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 co-operated with the AFP in this matter. A raid on our offices at Pyrmont and at Pacific Magazines and at our lawyers’ offices 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 organization.

We see any interference in fair reporting and newsgathering as regrettable. Seven has responded fully and comprehensively to all requests for information. We have a history of that type of co-operation. We also have a history of providing and breaking news stories and reporting matters of public interest. And Seven remains committed to that.

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