Crook was arrested this morning during police raids on properties in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.
As part of the same operation, police from the state’s anti-bikie taskforce arrested Mick Featherstone, a Gold Coast private investigator and former senior detective at the centre of a year-long probe by Queensland‘s Crime and Corruption Commission into money laundering and police corruption.
Police also issued a warrant for the arrest of multi-millionaire property developer and former Sydney Swans , who lives in Bali.
Crook and Featherstone were held during morning raids at addresses in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm and Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast.
Crook was then taken to his Brisbane CBD office where police carried out further searches.
Officers also raided another Brisbane premises and seized documents.
On Friday afternoon Crook and Featherstone faced court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, retaliation against a witness and attempted fraud against NAB.
Crook was bailed on conditions including that he surrender his passport and does not go within 100 metres of the NAB’s Southport branch.
The ABC understands Queensland Police will allege Crook and Mr Smith were involved in a January 2013 attempt to coerce a witness in a $70 million civil case involving Mr Smith to recant his evidence, using subterfuge and threats of violence.
Queensland Police say the charges stem from an elaborate scheme which police will allege was planned partly in Queensland. Section 12 of the Queensland Criminal Code allows for prosecutions for offences overseas where they would be considered crimes in Australia.
Police have been investigating claims Crook and Mr Smith lured the witness, an employee of the National Australia Bank, to Singapore and on to Batam Island in Indonesia using the pretence of a possible job offer from Clive Palmer.
It will be alleged that once on Batam Island, the witness was strip-searched, threatened and forced to make a statement recanting his evidence.
Clive Palmer calls raids a ‘black day for Australia’
Mr Palmer is not thought to have had any involvement in, or knowledge of the plot.
The federal MP arrived at Crook’s office during the raid and said he knew nothing of the allegations.
But he suggested the police actions could be politically motivated.
“I don’t know very much other than to say that Crook Media and Andrew Crook are responsible for all our media in Australia, was responsible for the Palmer United Party winning the last federal election,” he said.
“And of course, the LNP, the Liberal Government – Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott – don’t like the opposition we’ve been giving them in the Senate, they don’t like that sort of thing.
“I think this is a black day for Australia if any of this, which I don’t know anything about at the moment, has anything to do with political freedom in this country.
“I think it’s very important that there’s freedom of speech in Australia, that there’s diversity of opinion. I’m personally very concerned because Mr Crook is our media adviser and if they wanted to attack me or our party they can do that.”
Brisbane-based Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics.
Since becoming a federal MP, Mr Palmer has retained the services of Crook and his PR firm, Crook Media, to handle his political media relations.
Mr Smith made his fortune in the tourism industry after his AFL career.
Since 2009 he has been embroiled in legal action against the National Australia Bank, claiming the bank caused him to lose $70 million at the height of the global financial crisis.
He began building the biggest mansion on the Gold Coast, on Hedges Avenue at Mermaid Beach, but was later forced to sell it unfinished and at a loss.
Mr Smith then shifted his businesses to Bali, where he has developed luxury holiday accommodation. He also has interests in New Zealand and has re-invested in Gold Coast real estate in the past couple of years.
It is understood detectives from the Queensland police anti-bikie taskforce Maxima stumbled on evidence of the alleged January 2013 plot earlier this year while investigating Featherstone and his links to bikies, to former and serving police officers and his involvement with online betting syndicates on the Gold Coast.
In a parallel, four-month investigation, the ABC uncovered evidence Featherstone had for almost 10 years been involved in setting up and operating online betting syndicates alleged to have defrauded thousands of people across Australia of millions of dollars.
Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (QOFT) this week renewed Featherstone’s private investigator’s licence, which had expired in October. It also renewed the licence held by his PI firm, Phoenix Global.
The office of Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, which oversees the QOFT, told the ABC it had conducted the required criminal history checks and could find no reason to deny Featherstone or his firm a licence.