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FED: Sydney newspaper publishes "leaked emails"

20 Jun 2009 1:40 AM
Subject: FED: Sydney newspaper publishes "leaked emails" FED: Sydney newspaper publishes "leaked emails"

SYDNEY, June 20 AAP - Emails alleging the Prime Minister's office tried to help Ipswich car dealer John Grant secure a taxpayer-funded loan from the $2 billion OzCar vehicle financing scheme have been published in a Sydney newspaper.

Senior Treasury official Godwin Grech, who is in charge of the OzCar scheme, told a Senate inquiry on Friday he had been approached by the Prime Minister's office about Mr Grant's needs.

He said he thought there had been an email which confirmed the request, but then told the committee it was possible his memory was faulty.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has repeatedly denied he or his office tried to help Mr Grant secure a government-backed loan.

On Saturday News Limited's The Daily Telegraph published emails it says were sent by Andrew Charlton, Mr Rudd's senior adviser, to Mr Grech.

A February 19 email from Mr Charlton to Mr Grant reads:

"Hi Godwin, the PM has asked if the car dealer financing vehicle is available to assist a Queensland dealership, John Grant Motors, who seems to be having trouble getting finance.

"If you can follow up on this asap that would be very useful. Happy to discuss. A."

In an alleged reply sent by Mr Grech on February 23 to Treasurer Wayne Swan and Department Liaison Officer (Economic) Andrew Thomas, Mr Grech reports on his progress.

"Andrew, as promised, I raised the case of John Grant with the CEO of Ford Credit, Greg Cohen, during my meeting with Ford Credit in Melbourne today.

"Cohen gave me an undertaking that Ford Credit will actively look at taking Grant on.

"John Grant called me earlier this afternoon (from Auckland) to say that Ford Credit had been in contact with him after my meeting."

An undated email, also allegedly sent by Mr Grech to Mr Swan and Mr Thomas, expresses concerns.

"Andrew, I told Grant to keep in touch and to let me know if Ford show concerns or resistance (I will not speak with Ford again on this unless it is absolutely necessary to push it through)," Mr Grech reportedly wrote.

"He also said that he wants to come to Canberra to meet me (and I assume you). Although I said nothing, I don't think that would be a good idea until this is settled. Godwin."

Mr Thomas thanked Mr Grech in a responding email.

"Great work," the email read.

"Just so you are aware, these emails are also going to the Treasurer's home fax. Cheers, Andrew.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has called on Mr Rudd and Mr Swan to justify their actions over links to Mr Grant or resign.

AAP bc/ao =0A

FED: Sydney newspaper publishes "leaked emails"