Police officer charged with corruption had $1 million in the bank

An Australian Federal Police officer charged with bribery and corruption offences had a ticket to fly to Slovenia on Thursday and $1 million in the bank, a court has heard.

Benjamin Joseph Hampton, 43, of Epping, faced Central Local Court on Thursday, charged with offences including receiving bribes and corrupting benefits, abuse of public office, unauthorised access to data with intent to commit an offence and divulging prescribed information.

Court documents allege Mr Hampton received a $10,000 bribe and a US$1000 bribe in return for influencing his actions as an officer. He allegedly accessed data held on federal police computers knowing he was unauthorised to do so and with the intent of committing or facilitating a serious offence.

The magistrate Alexander Mijovich granted him bail on condition he deposit $1 million in cash, surrender his passport, report to police daily and not contact witnesses.

Crown prosecutor Michael Allnutt said Mr Hampton had been the subject of a covert operation for several months and the investigation was continuing.

He said Mr Hampton’s father was in Slovenia, which does not have an extradition treaty with Australia.

Mr Allnutt opposed bail on the grounds Mr Hampton was a flight risk and could interfere with witnesses.

He said that, in the course of his duties, Mr Hampton may have had contacts with organised crime.

Mr Allnutt said Mr Hampton faced a "significant" prison sentence if convicted.

Receiving a bribe as a Commonwealth public official carries a maximum 10-year jail term; the other criminal code offences he is charged with carry a maximum five-year sentence.

Breaching the secrecy provisions of the federal police has a maximum two-year sentence.

Mr Hampton’s solicitor, Gordon Elliott, said Mr Hampton and his wife, Louise, had $1 million in the bank from the recent sale of their house.

Mr Hampton served as part of the federal police protection team, which deals with witness protection programs, provides bodyguards for local and international people, and protects sites such as Parliament and defence facilities.

He has been a federal police officer for 15 years.

He is alleged to have accessed information that was not related to his direct areas of responsibility and to have shared that information with a member of the public.

The investigation was conducted by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the federal police’s professional standards department.

Mr Hampton was suspended on May 1 this year.

Ray Johnson, manager of the federal police Sydney office, said the investigation was continuing but no evidence obtained so far indicated any other police officer was involved.

"The AFP does not tolerate corrupt or criminal behaviour from its members, and will work with ACLEI to ensure we uphold the integrity that is inherent in all activities our members and the organisation undertake," he said.

Mr Hampton will face the Downing Centre Local Court in November.

The story Police officer charged with corruption had $1 million in the bank first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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