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Australian government investigating claims New Zealander bribed his way out of deportation

Australia's government is investigating claims that a New Zealander was able to bribe his way out of being deported.

William Betham has been living free on the Gold Coast after being released in 2017, despite spending 10 years in prison and offshore detention for his role in a drug trafficking syndicate.

Mr Betham was facing deportation, but while in immigration detention on Christmas Island, he allegedly boasted to another detainee.

"'If you pay $80,000 to a certain person in Brisbane, that particular person has a good connection with Peter Dutton's office and I'll be able to get you a visa within a couple of months,'" detainee Nauroze Anees claimed.

Australia's Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, labelled the allegations entirely false, and said whistleblower Mr Annes has committed dozens of criminal offences.

But Mr Annes said Mr Betham is not alone.

"There is another guy I’m aware of who did the same thing and got out," he said.

Under Australian law, foreigners automatically have their visas cancelled if they are jailed for at least 12 months for serious crimes, but according to local media, hundreds have appealed and been spared deportation.

This week, the Australian government confirmed they are currently looking into whether their system is vulnerable to bribery.

But Mr Betham's lawyer said he denies paying anyone who could have helped reinstate his visa and he denies boasting about it.

She said, rather, that it was submissions made on his behalf that have allowed him to remain in Australia a free man.

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    William Betham is living free on the Gold Coast after being released in 2017 despite spending 10 years in prison and offshore detention for his role in a drug trafficking syndicate. Source: 1 NEWS