CRAIG Thomson claims he was not the defacto partner of wife Zoe Arnold in February 2009 when she bought the family’s current home and claimed a government stamp duty exemption – even though Ms Arnold was pregnant with his child.
Ms Arnold avoided $15,000 in stamp duty through a first-homeowner’s scheme on the Bateau Bay, NSW, house.
The scheme forbids a homeowner to claim the stamp duty exemption if they have a spouse or defacto who has previously owned property. The First Home Plus scheme provided stamp duty exemptions for properties under $500,000 in NSW.
He maintains the defacto relationship began after Ms Arnold bought the property. Transfer documents were signed by Ms Arnold on February 20, 2009. Five days later, Mr Thomson changed his electoral enrolment to the Bateau Bay address.
“We checked with authorities. She was perfectly entitled to buy the house in her name,” Mr Thomson told The Sunday Telegraph.
“We entered a defacto relationship some time after she bought. We in fact checked with the first home scheme.
“You write anything and we will sue the s … out of you.”
Neighbours say the couple moved into the hilltop house just weeks after Ms Arnold bought it.
Company searches also reveal Mr Thomson is the director of a company called Dads in Education Limited. The appointment date is February 2009 and his address is listed as the same property.
Sale transfer documents state the property was bought by Ms Arnold and are stamped “First Home Plus No Duty payable.” Lands Title records confirm the Bateau Bay property is owned solely by Ms Arnold with a mortgage to SGE Credit Union.
Parliament’s 2010 pecuniary interest register states Mr Thomson owns no property, listing the Bateau Bay property in the name of his “spouse”. They married in 2011.
As Mr Thomson prepares to name and shame those he accuses of a “set up” over allegations of credit-card misuse and phone hacking in Parliament on Monday, fresh details of potential failures to update Parliament’s pecuniary interest register have also emerged.
Both Lands Titles records and Mr Thomson’s own 2008 pecuniary interest register to Parliament confirm he previously owned at least two properties: a home in Tumbi Umbi, NSW, and an apartment in Melbourne that he purchased with previous wife Christi Thomson.
Thomson sold both properties before the 2010 election without updating the register, in breach of parliamentary guidelines that state it must be updated within 28 days of a change of ownership.
According to sales records, Mr Thomson’s apartment in Bligh Place Melbourne was sold in April, 2008 for $465,000, and the Tumbi Umbi property was sold in April, 2010, for $588,000 with the vendor listed as “Thomson”.
Mr Thomson is already facing an investigation into his failure to update the pecuniary interest register to alert Parliament to the Labor Party paying around $200,000 in legal fees.