18 Feb 2014

Former MP used union card to pay for sex

8:10 pm on 18 February 2014

A former Australian MP - and New Zealander - Craig Thomson has been found guilty of misusing his Health Services Union credit cards to pay for sexual services and making cash withdrawals.

The 49-year-old had been accused of using his Health Services Union credit card to pay for more than $30,000 in personal expenses while he was the organisation's national secretary and an Australian Labor MP.

He pleaded not guilty to more than 140 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception, theft and obtaining property by deception, and strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Thomson has cleared of some of the offences, but faces a possible five year jail term for using his Health Services Union credit cards to pay for prostitutes and make cash withdrawals.

The magistrate hearing the case in a Melbourne court said it was an "affront to common sense" that payments to escorts could ever be considered legitimate expenses.

Thomson still faces proceedings at the Fair Work Commission over the alleged misuse of union funds.

He lost his NSW Central Coast seat of Dobell at last September's federal election, standing as an independent but receiving less than 4 per cent of the votes cast.