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George Christensen regarded a risk by AFP over Philippines trips, Peter Dutton warned

A letter bomb from the Australian Federal Police warned the government of Scott Morrison that former MP George Christensen was at risk of being blackmailed for his “activities” in the Philippines.

For the past three years, police and the recently retired MP have been fighting to keep details of the letter – which was sent to then Home Secretary Peter Dutton in 2018 – private.

The letter came after a nine-month investigation by the Australian Federal Police into Mr Christensen’s “extensive” trip to the Southeast Asian country, where he spent nearly 300 days on 28 trips between 2014 and 2018.

George Christensen (with his wife April, above) was warned by federal police in 2018 that his visits to the Philippines put him at risk of being blackmailed

George Christensen (with his wife April, above) was warned by federal police in 2018 that his visits to the Philippines put him at risk of being blackmailed

The AFP recently lost its three-year battle to keep secret a letter about Mr Christensen's

The AFP recently lost its three-year battle to keep secret a letter about Mr Christensen’s “activities” in the Philippines

The AFP declined to release the letter, citing concerns over national security and privacy, but was eventually forced to make the document public after the Nine Network won a lengthy legal battle to obtain it after appealing to the Information Commissioner.

The letter to Mr Dutton in 2018 said the investigation found no evidence of criminal conduct by Mr Christensen, but that he “was at risk of becoming the target of compromise by foreign interests”.

“The AFP has made a thorough assessment of this case, with no criminal conduct on the part of Mr Christensen being identified,” wrote then AFP Deputy Commissioner Ramzi Jabbour.

“However, the review found that Mr. Christensen makes extensive international trips to Southeast Asia during periods when he is not sitting and engaged in activities that may put him at risk of being the target of compromise by foreign interests.”

Mr Jabbour said the AFP had met Mr Christensen four weeks earlier to inform him of the “potential risk of a compromise”. “The matter is now closed,” the letter concluded.

Mr Christensen did not respond to requests for comment on the letter.

During the federal police investigation, Mr. Christensen emerged as the MP the AFP was looking for for its regular visits to developing countries.

Christensen, who has a Filipino wife, called media coverage of his visits to the Philippines a “despicable defamation.”

At one point, he famously turned to a reporter who questioned him about this, exclaiming “you’re a caterpillar.”

His frequent trips to Angeles City (pictured), 80 km north of Manila, raised concerns at AFP

His frequent trips to Angeles City (pictured), 80 km north of Manila, raised concerns at AFP

Once called the

Once called the “Member of Manila,” George Christensen (pictured) spent 294 days in the Philippines over four years from 2014-2018

His travels include frequent visits to Angeles City, 50 miles (80 km) north of Manila, reports said.

Mr Christensen insisted he did nothing wrong as he fought to keep the AFP letter private.

“I’m not happy with documents that basically falsely accuse me of a serious crime being made public because then people can report what you’re being falsely accused of and that’s just wrong for everyone,” he told Nine News last year.

The Mackay-based politician was first elected to the federal parliament in 2010, after serving on the city council for six years.

Christensen served three terms as MP for Dawson before announcing in April that he would not contest his seat again.

He said he planned to stay in parliament for just three stints and wanted to spend more time with his wife April Asunción and their young child.

“While I have been repeatedly encouraged by the party, my staff, my colleagues and my constituents to run again, the reality is that over the past year I have been separated from my family who were overtaken by the pandemic abroad,” he said. he. said in a video posted to Facebook.

“They’re here in the country now, so I want to focus more on them in the future.”

Days later, Mr. Christensen announced that he had joined Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and withdrew from retirement to run in the election.

He was on the One Nation Senate ticket in a spot widely considered unwinnable and was defeated in May’s federal election.

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