Australian opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure to resign after an email smoking gun used in the "Utegate" scandal against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan has proven to be a fake, according to Australian federal police.
The email, supposedly from the prime minister's office, asked for special financial assistance for the PM's friend and neighbor, Queensland car dealer John Grant. The name "Utegate" was coined because the car dealer supposedly lent Rudd a utility vehicle — or 'ute' in Australian slang — for use in his constituency.
The opposition used this smoking gun email and put "unprecedented pressure" on the Prime Minister to explain his
role in the fiasco and Trumball demanded Rudd's resignation. (AFP) The sessions in Parliament were described as extremely noisy and rowdy.
Godwin Grech, a
Treasury official, implicated Mr. Rudd at an inquiry into the planned government-backed
auto credit program on Friday. He told lawmakers that he had been emailed by the prime minister's
office asking if John Grant's dealership would be able to
access the credit facility. (Wall Street Journal)
Calls came from the opposition for the PM to resign.
But, things took an unusual turn yesterday. —- The police searched the home and work computers of Godwin Grech.
“Preliminary results of those forensic examinations indicate that the
email referred to at the centre of this investigation has been created
by a person or persons other than the purported author of the email,”
the AFP said in a statement. In other words, the email was a fake.
Did Trumball know the email was a fake? Now, the tables are turned.
“This email is a fraud, it is a fake, it is a fabrication. Therefore
my own judgment is that Mr Turnbull’s got no option . . . but to do the
honorable thing, apologize and resign. He does not have the character
to occupy the highest office in the land,” said Mr Rudd said on Channel 9 in Australia.
"It was not created or composed by us," Turnbull told public radio.
"If it is a fake, as is apparently the case, it was a fake that was
created in the Treasury … "Now how on earth can I be responsible for a fake that is created in (Treasurer Wayne) Swan's department?"
The investigations are scheduled to continue. I can't wait to find out how the email was forged.