Nicola Gobbo, the disgraced criminal barrister who turned on her own clients, demanded an eye-watering payday from Victoria Police for her services, telling her handlers she would “walk away” for $30 million, an inquiry has been told.
- Ms Gobbo said she thought she deserved a big payout for orchestrating up to $80 million worth of police seizures
- She sought the intervention of Simon Overland, who at the time was in charge of gangland investigations
- The demand was considered at the time to be “diatribe or self-interested puff”
The figure, the Lawyer X royal commission today heard, was what she believed she was entitled to for “single-handedly” orchestrating the seizure of up to $80 million worth of assets for the police force through her informing.
The inquiry heard Ms Gobbo even tried to seek the intervention of Simon Overland, who was in charge of gangland investigations at the time and who would eventually become Victoria’s top cop.
“Tell Simon to tell those idiots to be flexible,” she said, referring to the steering committee that managed her.
“VicPol has cost me millions and my health,” she said.
“It is a waste of time and I’m f***ing furious.”
But senior police officers on the steering committee dismissed her demands as the “diatribe” of someone who was prone to “ranting and raving”.
Ms Gobbo made the demand for payment in 2009, as negotiations raged over her going into witness protection and as police prepared to call her to give testimony against former detective Paul Dale, who detectives had charged with murder on her evidence.
About a year later, she would be paid out close to $3 million by the Victorian Government.
Today, Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius, who was on the steering committee, told the royal commission he recalled the “flavour” of the negotiations the force had with Ms Gobbo.
“I must say, I don’t recall attaching any weight to it,” Mr Cornelius said.
“If anything, I think I regarded what she was saying here as being, if you like, diatribe or self-interested puff.”
Counsel assisting Megan Tittensor then asked Mr Cornelius: “Did you say to anyone, ‘what she’s talking about, single-handedly orchestrating the seizure of 70 to 80 million in assets? What is she talking about? Is this woman crazy?’ Did you say that to anyone?”
“No, I don’t recall raising that,” Mr Cornelius said.
“And this is someone you wanted to put up as a witness of credit?” Ms Tittensor asked.
“Well, we were going through a process of course of assessing her credit.”
The inquiry continues.