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Paralympic Committee claws back some of stolen money

THE Australian Paralympic Committee has managed to recoup $276,000 of the more than $320,000 stolen from it by disgraced lawyer Maurice Frichot.

Former Kott Gunning senior partner, Frichot pleaded guilty last year to 92 charges of stealing from the committee while serving as its WA volunteer chairman.

District Court judge Michael Muller sentenced him to three and a half years’ jail for stealing $291,422 from the WA Paralympic Committee’s Common-wealth Bank account.

Last November, WA Supreme Court judge Theodore Bredmeyer entered a judgement of $318,482.75 along with interest of $6,177 and legal costs in favour of the committee.

Freehills solicitor Elizabeth Fitzgerald, acting on behalf of the committee, said the committee’s total loss would be closer to $335,000 after legal costs were added.

According to Frichot’s statement of affairs, he owed the committee and other creditors around $405,000.

Ms Fitzgerald was able to arrange a $120,000 settlement for Frichot’s creditors last month. The committee receives, after fees and payments to other creditors, about $77,000.

Frichot claims to have assets worth $200 and filed for bankruptcy in May. His family, while under no legal obligation, contributed the entire sum.

The committee’s insurer has agreed to give it a $199,000 payout on its indemnity insurance policy.

It is understood it would have taken the WA Paralympic Committee between five and six years to recoup the lost funds.

Australian Paralympic Committee chief executive Brendan Flynn said with the settlement the future of the WA committee was rosy.

During the trial it was revealed Frichot first stole $66,000 in 1997 from the committee’s Common-wealth Bank account to pay for two years of outstanding taxes.

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