Even though he was convicted of two counts of common assault in court on July 4, former KPMG Australia partner Stavros “Steven” Economides was given a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Economides, 62, who spent more than 30 years as a partner at KPMG, was sentenced to a 12-month good behavior bond after admitting to thrusting a corkscrew at the belly of a man and threatening to stab another person who were putting up election campaign banners near a school in May, according to the Australian Financial Review.
The two men—Jonathan Malota, 32, and Rafe Harrison-Murray, 18—were supporters of Tony Abbott, who was Australia’s prime minister from 2013 to 2015 and had served as a member of Parliament for Warringah since 1994. However, he lost the Sydney seat of Warringah to former Olympic skier Zali Steggall during the federal election on May 18, a day after Economides was arrested.
According to AFR, authorities said the attack happened near a polling booth in Balgowlah Heights, in northern Sydney, between 8:15 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. on May 17.
Malota told AFR that he and Harrison-Murray were putting up posters of the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott at the time Economides approached the two men.
“He walked towards us and told us to get the posters down. I told him ‘what is your problem’ and then he got into me,” Mr Malota said.
“It was dark, he poked me with something and I was wearing a lot of layers. At the time I thought it was a knife. He took my phone off me, and he was holding it with one hand and he had a corkscrew in the other hand. I had a minor cut, a bit of bruising around it.”
Malota was treated by paramedics at the scene and wasn’t hospitalized.
Economides also told Harrison-Murray to “take those signs down or I’ll stab you,” according to courtroom testimony. He then proceeded to rip down the campaign banners that Malota and Harrison-Murray had put up before fleeing the scene.
This goes to show that working as a senior partner at KPMG for more than 30 years will indeed make you lose your damn mind. In fact, Economides’ lawyer tried to have the charges against his client dismissed on mental health grounds, saying Economides was mentally distressed at the time and that his behavior was out of character, according to AFR.
That didn’t work.
But both Malota and Harrison-Murray told AFR that they received letters of apology from Economides.
“He sent me a letter with an apology and I responded to that. You gotta accept the apology. He said he was in the wrong and he was very regretful,” Mr Malota said.
Harrison-Murray was a little more … unforgiving?
“He sent me a letter of apology. I didn’t write back to him. I was wasn’t sure what to say.
“The letter went through his consequences. He mentions how this will impact his family and I feel for that, but no one has a right to attack someone.
“Once you have violence in politics, once you try to stop people from voicing their opinions, what’s the point of our democracy?”
According to AFR, Economides retired from the House of Klynveld in 2018 and had a one-year contract to act as a consultant on behalf of KPMG that ended on June 28, which the firm declined to renew.
Huh, I wonder why?