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rmer NSW RSL president Don Rowe charged with fraud

Updated about 2 hours ago
RSL president Don Rowe
Photo: Don Rowe was charged at Armidale Police Station. (ABC News)

Disgraced former New South Wales RSL president Don Rowe has been charged with fraud following a police investigation.

The 70-year-old was accused of misusing his corporate credit card to cover personal expenses during his 11-year tenure.

He was arrested and charged at Armidale Police Station this morning and will face court in March.

Mr Rowe was the subject of an ICAC inquiry that wrapped up in 2017, which heard evidence the former president charged the RSL for personal expenses.

The scandal sent shockwaves through NSW RSL and other state RSL branches, with a report noting Mr Rowe brought them into disrepute.
Former RSL NSW president Don Rowe lays a wreath.
Photo: Former RSL NSW president Don Rowe was the subject of an ICAC inquiry. (Wikimedia Commons: Bidgee)

NSW Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean had referred Mr Rowe to police last May after calling his behaviour "shameful and disgraceful".

Today, Mr Kean welcomed the charges.

"In 2017, I commissioned Justice Patricia Bergin to conduct an inquiry into the NSW RSL," he said.

"Justice Bergin (recommended) Mr Rowe be referred to NSW Police.

"I accepted that recommendation and thank the police for their work on this matter."

In 2014, Mr Rowe resigned as the RSL president citing ill health.

He later admitted he was approached by the national president Rod White who gave him an ultimatum to resign or his expenses would be subject of a forensic audit.

Mr Rowe's successor, James Brown, last year said he accepted the report's findings and apologised for the organisation's failure.

It had "lost its way", he said, and promised the NSW RSL would centralise funding.


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