EXCLUSIVE: The mystery over why Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, threatened True Crime News Weekly earlier this year over our groundbreaking reporting on the Paladin Scandal can finally be revealed. Our publisher, Serkan Ozturk, bravely wades into the cesspool of corruption once more despite being warned off by lackeys of the billionaire mining bully.
It was a strange yet somewhat alluring threat we received in February this year. Australia’s richest person, mining heiress Gina Rinehart, had ordered one of her senior staffers on a Sunday of all days to send a tetchy and threatening message warning True Crime News Weekly to not look too deeply into the Paladin Scandal or #PaladinAffair.
“Please note that neither the Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd Group of companies (‘Hancock’) nor its Chairman, Mrs Gina Rinehart, has ever had any dealings with Paladin Group Pty Ltd, Paladin Aus Pty Ltd or any related entities (‘Paladin’),” Hancock Prospecting secretary, Jabez Huang, wrote to True Crime News Weekly over email sent on Sunday, February 24.
“We had not even heard of Paladin … prior to the publishing of the article.
“Therefore, please refrain from implying online or in future that either Hancock or Mrs Rinehart has had any association with Paladin.”
That scandal – first reported in great depth by True Crime News Weekly and the Financial Review – saw Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs office dumping hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into a dodgy shell company heavily populated by former SAS soldiers and senior Defence Personnel who were now out looking for a quick buck at the expense of the suffering of others; namely, innocent refugees languishing in the hell of Australian Government operated concentration camps on far-flung Manus Island in PNG.
At the very least, Rinehart’s threat was further proof that not only is True Crime News Weekly widely read but also that some people – mostly the wealthy and powerful – are seemingly afraid of our street-level, gonzo, pulp-fiction brand of investigative journalism. And so they should be. Unlike their cowardly mates at corporate media outlets like News Corp or Nine, we don’t engage in sucking up to billionaires here. We simply report the truth, as fairly as possible.
The motivation for Rinehart’s threat was pretty bemusing. At no point in our extensive and wide ranging feature article did True Crime News Weekly suggest that “either Hancock or Mrs Rinehart” was intimately involved with Paladin’s business dealings.
Dead men tell no tales: Bodyguard and war hero Jeremiah John Rouwhorst (Image: News Corp)
We had only discussed the curious yet very factual link between Paladin and a former private bodyguard for Rinehart’s family, Jeremiah John Rouwhorst. The former East Timor war hero had been in the employ of Rinehart since about March 2013.
Our investigation revealed Rouwhorst had been a director of the Paladin Group along with his former friend, Craig Thrupp, from mid-2009 until August 2015. That was despite dying in mysterious circumstances in London in early 2014 while employed as the personal bodyguard of Rinehart’s youngest daughter, Ginia.
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It is believed he committed suicide, just two days after receiving a major bravery award from Australia’s Governor-General. Ginia was the first person to find Rouwhorst, who died three days later in hospital.
Rouwhorst’s main responsibility was to be deployed as the bodyguard for Rinehart’s youngest and perhaps favourite daughter, Ginia. During Rinehart’s well-publicised, ongoing bitter dispute with her own children regarding a billion dollar trust, Ginia was the only one who took her mother’s side from the very beginning.
According to a News Corp article ten days after his death, Rouwhorst and Ginia were described as “inseparable” by one source who was said to be a “Rinehart insider”. The source was also quoted at the time saying:
“He joined her at parties and gatherings where there was absolutely no imminent threat to her personal safety,” the source told News Corp.
“When she would nip from one room to the next, he would be right with her.”
Reading between the lines, it can be clear that the establishment press both in the UK and Australia were intimating and hinting that the relationship between Rouwhorst and Ginia went far beyond just bodyguard and client.
Rouwhorst died on March 19, 2014, three days after being found naked and unconscious in a room at the five-star Dorchester Hotel. Ginia was the first person to find him after going to his room at about midday, concerned by a text message he had sent. It has been reported that Rouwhorst had tried hanging himself. He had been residing in a suite next to Ginia’s for three months. His death came less than a day after throwing a party for Ginia ahead of her return to Australia, and just two days after receiving a major bravery award for his actions in East Timor.
A police officer who attended the scene said Ginia was “obviously very distressed and at one point she even collapsed in the hotel corridor”.
A Coroner’s Court in London heard that the “professional” Rouwhorst had for some reason consumed an “uncharacteristic” amount of alcohol on the night of the party. Apparently “ashamed” and “disgraced” about his behaviour, at just before 10.30am on March 16 – the morning after the party – Rouwhorst send a text message to his client saying he would be resigning from his position as her bodyguard. Ginia told the coroner’s court she had been sleeping from 8am until about midday after Rouwhorst had picked her up from a friend’s place in the posh neighbourhood of Chelsea.
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The inquest into Rouwhorst’s death returned an open verdict.
“It is possible he sent the text message as a possible cry for help and was hoping to be found. I cannot be sure he wanted to kill himself,” Assistant Coroner Shirley Radcliffe ruled.
“One thinks that this may have been an impulsive gesture whilst under the influence of alcohol. He was devastated at having lost an element of his professionalism the night before.
“This may have been suicide, I cannot be sure. It may have been an accident, I cannot be sure.”
A bit over two years later, Ginia would end up marrying another member of her bodyguard team – former SAS soldier Simon Robinson.
But now, finally True Crime News Weekly can reveal that a cover-up of sorts is alleged to have taken place so that the real reason for Rouwhorst’s suicide would not be known.
A friend of the war hero has contacted this publication, desperate for the truth of Rouwhorst’s death to finally come out.
“Gina was “tetchy” because of the cover up of the true reason for the death of daughter’s bodyguard,” the friend told True Crime News Weekly.
“Horrendous text messages from the daughter sent him over the edge.”
It is unclear if the alleged messages sent by Ginia were deleted from both her and Rouwhorst’s phone, soon after she discovered the body of her bodyguard and suspected former lover. That’s because the Assistant Coroner in her final judgement only referenced the text message that Rouwhorst had sent about resigning from his position.
Previously, Rinehart had told this publication that her family still cared deeply about Rouwhorst.
“Mr Rouwhorst is held in high regard by Mrs Rinehart and Hancock in view of his decorated military career including his Commendation for Brave Conduct awarded by the Governor-General of Australia,” Mr Huang wrote in an emailed message on Rinehart’s behalf.
True Crime News Weekly has contacted both Gina and Ginia Rinehart for comment.