ClubsNSW intensifies legal battle with whistle blower

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Legal teams come to blows over ClubsNSW whistleblower controversy

A legal stoush between powerful pokies lobby group, ClubsNSW, and a former anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing manager has heated up.

The Guardian reports that ClubsNSW is seeking a court order to gag former employee Troy Stolz from speaking to journalists as it sues the whistle blower.

Stolz has spoken out publicly about a widespread failure for NSW clubs to comply with money laundering laws in pubs and clubs across the state.

ClubsNSW is now suing him for breach of confidence in the federal court.

The lobby group then launched a remarkable bid to stop Stolz from speaking to the media about the case.

Specifically, it wants the court to gag him from speaking about ClubsNSW’s motivations for bringing the case or its conduct during the proceedings.

The application for the federal court injunction, seeks to restrain Stolz from “publishing or making statements to any media outlet that purport to comment on the applicant’s purpose in maintaining these proceedings or the applicant’s conduct in these proceedings”.

ClubsNSW is also attempting to restrain Stolz from publishing any correspondence he receives from the group’s lawyers about the case, or taking steps “designed to cause any other person to publish or make statements about applicant’s purpose in maintaining these proceedings or the applicant’s conduct in these proceedings”.

The application for the injunction also seeks to force Stolz to remove a description of the proceedings from his GoFundMe page.

Stolz is using GoFundMe to raise money for his case, saying he has been left broke by the proceedings.

ClubsNSW declined to comment when approached by The Guardian, saying it would be inappropriate to do so while the matter is before the courts.

The court has ordered Stolz to hand over communications he had with the office of the independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie prior to the MP’s unsuccessful attempt to table a document in parliament showing that just five to 10 per cent of NSW’s registered clubs were complying with anti-money laundering laws.

In some cases, correspondence between a constituent and an MP is protected by parliamentary privilege.

ClubsNSW intensifies legal battle with whistle blower

In June, ClubsNSW considered proceedings against two journalists who corresponded with Stolz.

Whistleblower Troy Stolz said that an attempt to force journalists from the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald to hand over their correspondence with him is a “disgrace”.

“It’s a public interest matter that affects all communities,” he said.

“It’s a national security issue. They are trying to silence the media from telling the truth.”

ClubsNSW’s lawyers recently wrote to Mr Stolz asking that he give the group access to an encrypted Protonmail account, which he used to communicate with ABC journalist Steve Cannane and the Herald journalist Nick O’Malley.

The letter warned that ClubsNSW may compel the two media outlets to hand over their correspondence with Mr Stolz.

“ClubsNSW is not only entitled to investigate the extent of Mr Stolz’s unauthorised disclosure of its confidential information, but to also recover any of its confidential information subject to such disclosure,” the letter said.

“ClubsNSW is presently considering invoking the court’s power to compel the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to produce their communications with Mr Stolz.

Mr Stolz had been given until 4pm on Tuesday to tell the lobby group whether he will “object to this course of action”.

Back to top