According to a report by Brisbane Times on Sunday, October 22, 2023, a joint investigation by 60 Minutes, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age has exposed the cozy relationship between former US president Donald Trump and Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt.
The investigation obtained audio recordings of Pratt, the executive chairman of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries, revealing his extraordinary dealings with Trump, who he met through his membership at the exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort.
The recordings show how Pratt, who is Australia’s richest person with a net worth of $23.6 billion, according to Forbes, ³ praised, flattered and joked with Trump, who often shared confidential and potentially sensitive information with him.
In one clip, Pratt is heard saying that Trump told him about a phone call he had with the president of Iraq after he ordered a military strike against the country in 2019.
“He said, ‘I just bombed Iraq today. And the president of Iraq called me up and said, you just levelled my city’. And he said, ‘And I said to him, OK, what are you going to do about it?’,” Pratt said in the audio.
In another clip, Pratt says that Trump bragged about his controversial phone call with the leader of Ukraine in 2019, in which he asked him to investigate the foreign business dealings of his political rival Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
“Yeah and Trump said, ‘You know that Ukraine phone call? That was nothing compared to what I usually do’. He said, ‘that Ukraine phone call, that’s nothing compared to what we usually talk about’,” Pratt said in the audio.
The most alarming revelation from the tapes is that Trump allegedly disclosed classified information about US nuclear submarines to Pratt in April 2021, three months after he left office.
According to ABC News in the US, sources said that Pratt went on to share the information he received from Trump with “more than a dozen foreign officials, several of his own employees, and a handful of journalists”.
The information was reportedly related to a secret deal between the US, Australia and the UK to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which was announced in September 2021.
The deal sparked a diplomatic crisis with France, which had previously signed a contract with Australia to supply conventional submarines.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the allegations “false and ridiculous”.
He said in a statement that he “never discussed or disclosed any classified information” to Pratt or anyone else.
He also claimed that he “barely” knew Pratt and that he was “just another rich guy who wanted to be seen at Mar-a-Lago”.
Pratt has not responded to the allegations or the requests for comment from 60 Minutes and other media outlets.
He has previously expressed his admiration for Trump and his policies, especially his tax cuts and deregulation measures.
In 2019, Pratt attended the official opening of his recycling and paper plant in Wapakoneta, Ohio, where Trump praised him as a “great gentleman” and a “very special person”.
Pratt also donated $50,000 to Trump’s legal fund after the 2020 presidential election, which Trump refused to concede and claimed was rigged.
The secret tapes have raised serious questions about Trump’s handling of national security matters and his loyalty to his allies.
They have also exposed how Pratt used his access and influence to get close to one of the most powerful and controversial figures in the world.