Melbourne lawyer Michael Brereton, the subject of a long-running investigation by the Australian Crime Commission over possible tax avoidance, has given to the ACC a list outlining which documents — among 20,000 or so that were seized from his offices more than three years ago — he wants to keep confidential.
The list supplied to the ACC yesterday afternoon includes the names of some of Mr Brereton’s clients. Mr Brereton wants all the documents on the list withheld from the investigators because he says they should be covered by legal professional privilege, the Age reports.
Mr Brereton’s lawyer, Lydia Kinda, told the Federal Court on Monday that he believed that by providing the names of clients he potentially would be breaching his lawyer’s duty of confidentiality.
The ACC has been investigating Mr Brereton’s financial affairs for several years and in early 2004 it searched his offices and home and obtained various computer files and other documents.
But the ACC so far has not been permitted to examine those files because Mr Brereton, through the courts, has complained several times about the legality of the ACC investigation and, separately, that many of the documents are covered by legal professional privilege and so should not be seen by the investigators.