Man accused of foreign interference only dealt with open-source information: court
A Bondi businessman accused of foreign interference for leaking information to China has dealt only with information from public source documents during a consultation agreement and intends to prosecute the Commonwealth for ruining his career, a court has heard.
Alexander Csergo, 55, was arrested on Friday and charged with reckless foreign interference after he was allegedly paid by two people – named Ken and Evelyn – to prepare reports on Australia’s defence, economic and national security arrangements.
On Monday, Csergo filed an application for bail in Downing Center Magistrates’ Court, represented by top national security attorney Bernard Collaery.
Collaery said his client has worked for companies including Telstra, Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen and media company JCDecaux, and moved to China in 2002 after graduating from Waverley College in east Sydney, where he played rugby, and attended the University of NSW .
He said prosecutors seemed to suspect there was something sinister about his client’s interactions with Ken and Evelyn, two or three people out of “hundreds” he had contact with.
Collaery said ASIO and other authorities searched Csergo’s laptop when he cooperated and gave them his passwords, noting that “all of his work came from documents from public sources” as well as his own creative efforts.
“These consultations that he has been conducting began during the COVID lockdown in Shanghai,” Collaery said.
“They were a source of income. Cash payments for advisory reports could have a color in Australian terms; it could well be the way business is done in China. It’s not necessarily scary in my opinion.”