The front page of The Australian today above, the story below:
Police have charged a Labor high-flyer and influential political lobbyist with child sex offences and producing and possessing child pornography.
Andres Puig — a former assistant state secretary of the Victorian ALP with impeccable Labor connections — is listed to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on April 16.
The investigation ramped up last October, and it’s believed Mr Puig was more recently arrested and charged, before being bailed. “It’s very early in the legal process,” a source said.
In a statement, a Victoria Police spokesman said: “Police have charged a 44-year-old East Melbourne man with ‘enter agreement for child sex services’ and ‘produce and possess child pornography’. The charges relate to alleged offences in 2019. The man has been bailed and will appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court.”
Mr Puig failed to respond to telephone and text requests from The Weekend Australian on Friday to detail the nature of the police charges.
Mr Puig, who owns a luxury East Melbourne apartment, built his reputation as a political machine man in the 1990s and 2000s. He is well connected within the union movement and rose to ALP assistant state secretary in the early 2000s.
After leaving the ALP, Mr Puig helped build Civic Group into a lobbying powerhouse across both sides of politics but appears to have cut ties with the firm. Company records reveal the Argentinian-born lobbyist ceased being a director of several Civic-related entities on October 10, 2019. “There’s no coincidence he disappeared from public life at this time,” a source said. “It’s the same time the investigation ramped up.”
A Labor source said Mr Puig had been keeping a low profile more recently. “He seems to have gone missing in the past few months,” the source said.
In the lead-up to Labor’s 2014 election victory, Mr Puig was embroiled in controversy when several staff within then opposition leader Daniel Andrews’s office broke ranks and raised concerns about his influence on policy. Three Labor staffers raised concerns there was a conflict with Mr Puig providing strategic advice to Labor, which went on to win the 2014 election, while representing developers who could benefit from policy decisions. “He’s everywhere,” one staffer said in 2014.
In 2015, it was revealed Civic Group was awarded government contracts worth as much as $1m. In 2018, he landed a lucrative taxpayer-funded contract to manage the Andrews government’s multicultural strategy. The firm came up with the slogan of “One Law For All”.
Earlier today Samantha Maiden reported in The New Daily
Former Labor lobbyist Andres Puig has been found dead in his luxury East Melbourne home just hours he learned a newspaper planned to publish a story revealing he was facing child sex charges.
The former Labor high-flyer and influential political lobbyist was listed to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on April 16, according to The Australian newspaper.
According to police, the 44-year-old was charged with ‘enter agreement for child sex services’ and ‘produce and possess child pornography’. The charges relate to alleged offences in 2019.
In a statement to The New Daily, Victoria Police confirmed that a 44-year-old man was found dead at 6:30 pm on Friday night, but did not confirm his name.
“Police will prepare a report for the coroner following the death of a man in East Melbourne on Friday night,” a spokeswoman said.
“The man was located deceased in his Powlett Street home shortly before 6.30pm. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”
Tragic for him and his family but much, much worse for the child sex offence victims.
- Lifeline 131 114