Craig Thomson, an Australian Labor-turned-independent MP who was Health Services Union national secretary from 2002 to 2007, might face fines of up to 450,000 Australian dollars (about 460,500 U.S. dollars) and compensation payments after Fair Work Australia filed civil charges in the Federal Court, local media reported Tuesday.
Fair Work Australia (FWA) alleged that Thomson spent unauthorized funds in his term of office on prostitutes, travel and his election campaign that were not "in the best interests" of the organization in a 200-page statement of claim lodged in the Federal Court Monday.
These are understood to refer to engagements of prostitutes beyond those first identified and the connection with the cash withdrawals.
The statement of claim showed Thomson spent 770 Australian dollars (about 788 U.S. dollars) on an escort agency in Sydney called The Boardroom, which came up as "Internat Immobiliare" on the MP's credit card bill. The expenditure was missed in the original FWA investigation and was later dug up by television program A Current Affair.
It is reported that the FWA action against Thomson will apply renewed pressure on Prime Minister Julia Gillard over alleged " sleaze" among those close to the government.
For months, the prime minister dodged questions about the former Labor MP, eventually encouraging him to move to the cross- benches after "a line has been crossed."
The latest development in the Thomson scandal came a week after Labor was rocked by the resignation of its hand-picked speaker, Peter Slipper, over a text-message exchange with a staffer who is taking the independent MP to court over alleged sexual harassment.