Schapelle Corby fee rumours 'silly'
Bizarre twist in the Schapelle Corby saga with star Channel Seven interviewer Mike Willesee appearing on the streets of Bali to deny the network has secured a paid interview.PT2M14S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32fd7 620 349 February 11, 2014
The circus surrounding the case of Schapelle Corby got no less bizarre as her freedom entered its second day with star journalist Mike Willesee insisting he has no idea what his network's arrangement with the 36-year-old drug convict is, or who is negotiating it.
He's not even certain that he will get his sought-after paid interview.
Uncertain of what will happen: Mike Willesee. Photo: Justin McManus
"I really hope so," he said.
After seeming to confirm on the way out of the compound to have breakfast on Tuesday that the Seven Network had paid the Corby family for access, on the way back from breakfast he said no money had changed hands.
Q: Are you saying you've paid essentially a holding deposit to be in the same compound with her?
A: No, we've paid nothing. I'm not aware of any payments at all.
Q: From the Seven network towards the Corby family?
A: Not at all
Q: So how did you get in there?
A: Um, I didn't make that arrangement.
Q: Who did?
A: I dunno.
Asked more generally about the nature of Seven's arrangement with Corby he said: "It's not clear."
Did she simply want to hang out with him?
"Maybe she does," he said, laughing.
He acknowledged, though, that his program was paying security guards to protect her while she is sequestered in the luxury compound in Oberoi.
"We have, because we would like that interview."
That did not mean he knew who was paying her accommodation costs.
He directly denied that Seven had paid any costs to Indonesian agencies to facilitate her parole or release, saying: "My understanding is no, not at all."
He also denied outright the figure quoted by Sunrise host David Koch, also on the Seven Network, of a $2 to $3 million fee, and had a swipe at his fellow host.
"Kochie can speak for himself. He got it drastically wrong; he'll be proven to be wrong. That's the only bit of dissension that I'm aware of and that's just one guy having his opinion."
The way Willesee tells it, it's not even certain that an interview with Corby will take place.
"I don't know, I really don't know. There are a few things up in the air," he said.
"It's not a sure thing and it's not a close thing."
Asked, though, if was he expecting to get the interview, he said: "I really hope so."
"As I understand it, Schapelle needs some time to chill out and be ready."
Willesee was part of the Corby family convoy leaving the Bali Corrections Board office on her release yesterday, and which followed her to her luxury accommodation at the Sentosa Seminyak.
He stepped out for breakfast just before 9am local time (12pm AEDT) and spoke to reporters, but said he still had not met Corby, had not spoken to her or any members of the family, and did not even know which family members were in the compound.
"We're in a different villa so we don't have any physical communication, but I understand she's very well and relaxed," Willesee said
"I haven't communicated with her; I haven't talked to her either … I haven't seen her at all."
He did not know if they had held a party, and even the prospect of conducting an interview was uncertain.
After Nine's ratings disappointment with its Schapelle telemovie on Sunday night, a fresh round of Corby programming on Monday evening delivered even more embarrassing figures, with the all-day hype surrounding Corby's release not enough to excite viewers.