Monday, February 18, 2008


First published at Qassia:

The clandestine negotiations surrounding the return of the stolen NZ war medals...
While the missing war New Zealand war medals have been returned, what was paid to an unknown person or persons, was not a reward, but in reality a ransom.

The alleged NZ$300.000 put up as a reward has been paid into a bank account by the lawyer who conducted cloak and dagger type negotiations with criminals to get the medals back in one piece.The obvious risk was the thieves would destroy them if they felt the situation was getting too hot for them.

The lawyer has said he knew who was responsible for the burglary and theft of the medals within one week of the break-in at the Waiouru Army Camp Museum.

Using contacts within Auckland's maximum security prison at Paremoremo and Mount Eden Prison, the former policemen-cum - defence lawyer tracked down those who were involved within weeks of the theft. They were edgy and prone to mood swings, according to the lawyer, and at times disappeared into the criminal woodwork. It apparently took some time to build up their trust.

It was a prolonged process in which he alternated between meetings with the thieves and the police, all outside his business office hours. He doesn't know how many hours he was involved in the negotiating process - it just consumed him.

Days before the NZ$300,000 reward was offered, he arranged for the return of a set of medals, which included a George Cross, to be returned as a sign of good faith.

The lawyer said the reward was extremely helpful, but he always believed the medals would be returned without the reward. An amount of money has been paid, but not stated.

While he had kept things quiet, and would keep the thieves identity secret, he refused to supply any legal advice on how they should avoid detection.

After much negotiation and talking, the medals were returned by a third party last week. The lawyer claimed to have not had any personal benefit from the negotiations. It was now up to the police to make any future decisions, and for the NZ Army to ensure better security regarding those and other medals and valuables in the Army Museum.

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