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Jeff Kennett and new Seven West board members blindsided by Amber Harrison, Tim Worner affair: report

Jeff Kennett, left, with Kerry Stokes and Tim Worner, has been a forthright defender of Seven West’s position on the matter. Photo: Peter BraigIt appears the public were not the only ones kept in the dark about Amber Harrison’s affair with Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner, or the drawnout legal battle that preceded the explosive sex and drugs allegations becoming public.

According to a report in The n, the directors appointed to the Seven West board in 2015 – former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, iiNet founder Michael Malone, and Gilbert + Tobin partner Sheila McGregor – did not become aware of the allegations until Ms Harrison made them public in December.

“At the time of their appointments in 2015, the Amber Harrison matter was the subject of a confidential settlement signed and settled the prior year – an agreement which was subsequently breached,” Seven West said in a statement to Fairfax Media on Friday.

“In addition, the private and consensual relationship had also ended one year prior to the board appointments.”

Ms McGregor resigned this month – the night before an investigation that she had set up cleared Mr Worner of the allegations publicly raised by Ms Harrison.

Ms McGregor has not commented on the reasons for her resignation, but the timing has only fuelled doubts about Seven West’s handling of the affair.

Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes made it clear on the conference call discussing the group’s half-year results on Wednesday that Mr Worner “continues to have the full confidence of the board” and was riled by questions of whether he and the board had told Ms McGregor to remain quiet about the reasons for her resignation.

“That’s outrageous,” Stokes fumed. “Are you seriously suggesting I or my board would kind of direct her … How dare you. Sheila McGregor was a very important person who will make the comments she deems appropriate when she thinks it’s appropriate.” 

Mr Kennett has been a forthright defender of Seven West’s position on the matter, engaging in a Twitter battle with Ms Harrison. The tweets have since been deleted.

Ms Harrison is in effect gagged from making any sort of reply to Mr Stokes’ comments after the company obtained an interim court injunction on Monday. It stops Ms Harrison from releasing documents the network says she has no right to hold, access or release.

Ms Harrison is expected to respond when the matter goes before the NSW Supreme Court next week.

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