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Fair Work subpoenas brothels in MP inquiry

"I will be vindicated"... Craig Thomson outside his home today.

"I will be vindicated"... Craig Thomson outside his home today. Photo: Nick Moir

BROTHELS and escort agencies are among nine companies served with subpoenas seeking evidence against federal independent MP Craig Thomson.

Fair Work Australia issued the subpoenas to businesses this week, with all but two of them companies involved in the sex industry. The subpoenas demand receipts, notes, phone logs or CCTV footage dating back as far as 2003.

The industrial agency has accused Mr Thomson (below) of using his Health Services Union credit cards while he was its national secretary to pay for brothels, travel for him and his partner, and hotels.

A subpoena was sent to Qantas Holidays seeking details of a hotel booking. Another went to Yellow Pagespublisher Sensis, asking for requests for phone numbers for brothels and escorts such as Sydney Escorts and Young Blondes.

Mr Thomson has rejected all claims made against him by Fair Work Australia, and this week filed a defence in Melbourne's Federal Court either denying the accusations or saying they were being made too long after the alleged incidents occurred.

On Friday, Mr Thomson's solicitor Chris McArdle said it was highly unusual for Fair Work Australia to be gathering evidence so long after it had filed its statement of claim in the Federal Court in October.

''They are now trying to obtain information that they claimed they already had, and that underlines our assertion that he [Mr Thomson] did nothing wrong,'' he said.

He said Fair Work's case against his client was weak.

The subpoenas request any ''goods or services provided by or on behalf'' of the brothels and escort agencies named in them. One is The Boardroom of Melbourne, where the subpoena seeks any payments made by Mr Thomson between April 12 and 13, 2006.

KPMG in August conducted in evaluation of how Fair Work Australia had conducted its lengthy investigation into the accusations against Mr Thomson. It found the investigation was under-resourced, ill-equipped and deficient in ''planning, management and execution'', and did not consider all potential sources of information.

A spokeswoman for Fair Work Australia said on Friday that there was nothing unusual about the subpoenas having been issued now. ''Until now, Fair Work Australia did not have the power to seek the subpoenas. Now it is a matter before the Federal Court, it can do so, and it has,'' she said.

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