Schapelle Corby’s high-profile release from prison has taken a dramatic twist, as media heavyweights and the police clash over a possible tell-all interview.
As Corby recuperates at a luxury Bali villa, the furore over her first interview since being set free continued after the Australian Federal Police raided Channel Seven’s inner-Sydney offices.
Dozens of officers searched the network’s Pyrmont and Eveleigh offices, looking for evidence of a lucrative interview with Corby.
An AFP spokeswoman said officers were also likely to search Seven’s Martin Place offices as part of their proceeds-of-crime investigation.
Seven West reacted angrily to the raids.
“It’s a big attack on the press,” Seven’s commercial director Bruce McWilliam told News Corp Australia.
“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.”
Mr McWilliam denied media reports that Seven was offering $2 million to Schapelle Corby for the interview.
“The amount of money … is so small, they (police) don’t believe it,” he told Macquarie Radio.
“It’s way under a million. It is a small fee for accommodation and things like that.”
Seven chief executive Tim Worner said police didn’t accept assurances from the network that it hadn’t reached an agreement with Corby.
He called the AFP raids “overkill”.
“This is without justification and quite possibly unprecedented for a media organisation,” he said in a statement.
New Idea magazine, which is owned by Seven West Media, also had its offices raided.
The publication is rumoured to be part of a deal with Corby and Seven.
Seven journalist Mike Willesee said the police would not find a thing about alleged payments to Corby.
“The first thing I want to say about the Australian Federal Police raid is that it will finally nail the lie of the $2 million dollar payment that’s been repeated and repeated in the Australian media,” he said.
Corby is on parole in Bali and Indonesian authorities have threatened to toss the convicted drug mule back in jail if she does a paid, tell-all interview.
“We’ve positioned ourselves to be the first in line if there is an interview. There is no deal,” Willesee said.
“(The raid) will find nothing. They will find no payment because there is no payment.” – AAP