Former NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner
Former NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner Adam Hourigan

Former NSW Nats leader falls victim to online blackmailers

FORMER NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner paid a global extortion racket not to release compromising material about him after threats were made to his family last year.

Mr Stoner was believed to be the victim of a blackmail scam on social media site LinkedIn in which a scammer demanded money to keep material about him under wraps.

He paid the blackmailers and reported the matter to police last year.

The former Member for Oxley denied the material was photographs but said police had advised him not to go into further details.

The Nationals leader cited family reasons when he resigned from parliament in October.

"After talking with my family, I made this decision in order to allow me to spend more time at home in the immediate future whilst enabling the new leader of the NSW Nationals to stamp his own personal brand on the party," he said at the time.

Premier Mike Baird said on Tuesday he had not heard of the matter until it was reported in the media.

He said he had not since spoken to Mr Stoner to get the full story, adding it was "obviously a personal matter".

"Andrew never ever raised this with me," he told a media conference.

About 20,000 Australians fell victim to online scams last year.



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