More weird Firepower claims

Interesting story by Sean Cowan in The West Australian last weekend, which I cut and paste in full. It didn’t appear on the Internet and it just shows how fanciful the saga has become:

The never-ending Firepower scandal took its most bizarre twist yesterday when a New York mafia crime family was named as part of an alleged plot to kill one of Australia’s richest men. Two weeks ago, The West Australian revealed that police had made their first Firepower arrest when Gold Coast detectives charged Bindoon real estate agent Maxwell Raymond Healy with attempting to extort money from Firepower chief Tim Johnston. Police will allege Mr Healy was behind letters sent to the sprawling Gold Coast property owned by Mr Johnston’s wife, Sandra. The letters were intended to lead Mr Johnston to believe that property mogul Warren Anderson had put a $500,000 price on his head. Mr Anderson has denied being behind any contract.

Mr Anderson could not remember Mr Healy when first contacted about the extortion allegations two weeks ago but later said he remembered meeting Mr Healy many years ago. He denied putting a price on Mr Johnston’s head and has consistently denied allegations of intimidation levelled at him by Mr Johnston during a Federal Court hearing into the Firepower collapse.

Police allege that using the name Max Raemon, Mr Healy offered to make the contract disappear in exchange for a one-off payment of $200,000. One meeting between Mr Healy and Mr Johnston on the Gold Coast was monitored by police. But Mr Healy told The West Australian yesterday that he had never told Mr Johnston there was a price on his head and that it was Mr Johnston who had initiated contact between the pair because he wanted personal protection.

Mr Healy said Mr Johnston later told him that Mr Anderson had taken out a contract on his life and he had advised Mr Johnston to call police. “Johnston knew that I had a good relationship with Anderson but he thought it was in the last few years,” Mr Healy said. “He wanted to arrange a contract on Anderson. He wanted to get Anderson before Anderson got him — in his delusional state.”

Mr Healy, a pigeon breeder, said Mr Johnston had discovered that he knew members of New York’s Genovese crime family through their shared love of pigeons. Mr Johnston wanted him to use his mafia connections to kill Mr Anderson, Mr Healy said. “Yes, I stay at his (a mobster’s) house and I’m a friend and we always stay at the same hotel in Louisville and we go to shows,” he said. “This guy and me are the same age and we’ve both had pigeons since we were at primary school. But he does rubbish collection and recycling, which is multi-million dollars in New York. So these guys don’t get around like gangsters with guns.”

Mr Healy said he had not seen Mr Anderson in more than a decade but had met him through the bird breeding fraternity and had been involved in real estate transactions with him in the early 1990s.

Mr Anderson and Mr Johnston were one-time friends and were major players in the Firepower group of companies. More than 1300 investors lost up to $100 million in Firepower and Perth-based liquidator Bryan Hughes is trying to claw back some of the missing millions. Mr Healy, 61, was extradited to Queensland from Perth two weeks ago and released only after NSW pigeon fancier John Hanson put up $50,000 for his bail. Mr Johnston could not be contacted for comment yesterday but is expected to give evidence in the case against Mr Healy at a committal hearing in September.

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