The former husband of a Sydney businesswoman accused of defrauding the National Australia Bank of millions of dollars has given evidence in her trial that he was unaware of how she paid for an overseas holiday and hundreds of thousands of dollars in landscaping for their Mosman home.

Helen Rosamond, 47, is standing trial in the NSW District Court in Sydney on charges relating to her alleged role in defrauding NAB of $15 million. She has pleaded not guilty to 60 counts of giving a corrupt benefit and 32 counts of dishonestly obtaining, or attempting to dishonestly obtain, a financial advantage by deception.

Geoffrey Rosamond, ex-husband of Helen Rosamond, pictured in 2019. He gave evidence in his former wife’s criminal trial on Thursday.Credit:Jessica Hromas

The Crown alleges Rosamond sent falsified and inflated invoices from her event management company Human Group to NAB between 2013 and 2017 and paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to Rosemary Rogers, chief of staff in the office of the bank’s then-chief executive, to ensure they were paid.

Her former husband, Geoffrey Rosamond, gave evidence in the Downing Centre District Court in Sydney on Thursday and said he effectively “exited” a Human Group business,, in 2012.

He said his then-wife was appointed chief executive of both companies at that time. He said he resigned as a director of all companies in August 2015 and was “cut off financially”.

Asked how he received income between 2012 and 2015, he said: “I received income through disbursements from the family trust.”

Helen Rosamond outside the NSW District Court earlier this week.Credit:Dean Sewell

He said his then-wife signed off on an initial budget of $350,000 for extensive landscaping work on their Mosman home from about 2013 or 2014. He said the cost later became “bigger than Ben Hur”.

He said he assumed the money was coming from their mortgage offset account or “a company loan to Helen”, but he did not pay any of the bills himself. “I couldn’t even if I wanted to,” he told the court.

Asked about a family holiday overseas for his then-wife’s 40th birthday in 2015, Rosamond said he had “no clue how it was paid” and “I would have been assuming that it was from our own personal bank account”.

“That was all organised and booked and managed by Helen,” he said when asked whether he bought any tickets for the trip.

He said the couple, who married in February 2006, separated in about July 2015 when he received a letter setting out a proposition for him to “sign over all of the companies to Helen” in return for a cash settlement.

The court has heard Human Group had regularly carried out event planning services for NAB executives. Rogers, who had worked for the bank since 1995, was authorised to approve payments of up to $20 million.

The court has previously heard allegations Rosamond paid for luxury travel, accommodation, and a vehicle for Rogers, in return for Rogers approving inflated invoices that incorrectly attributed Rosamond’s personal expenses to NAB, including $228,747 for an interior designer to furnish her Potts Point home.

Rogers has been prosecuted and jailed for her role in the NAB arrangement, the jury has been told, and she is expected to give evidence in the trial.

Helen Rosamond’s barrister said in his opening address to the court that the central issue in the case would be whether Rosamond was party to an agreement with Rogers to defraud the bank.

“[The] interpretation that it was all Ms Rosamond’s idea is very much disputed,” Hughes said.

“The defence is likely to raise an alternative interpretation, that it was Ms Rogers who took those benefits for herself.”

The trial continues.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article