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Nationals MP George Christensen under scrutiny over Philippines adult bar claims

Nationals MP George Christensen under scrutiny over Philippines adult bar claims

Nationals MP George Christensen has denied claims that he was a regular at an adult entertainment bar in the Philippines.

The claim came as Christensen blocked the release of information about the Australian Federal Police probe into his frequent travels to the Philippines between 2014 and 2018.

Christensen was revealed to have taken 28 trips and spent almost 300 days in the Philippines over the four-year period.

The manager of bar Ponytails, which identifies itself as an “adult entertainment service”, said the federal politician was a “very regular visitor” and a “big spender” at the venue.

“It was well known that he went to other bars in the areas,” manager Marjorie Lamsen told Nine News, The Age and The Herald.

“The weakness of George is women. He would usually give allowances to these people.”

The joint investigation by the outlets also alleged that Christensen’s wife April Asuncion, whom he met in the Philippines in 2017, was an employee at the Ponytails bar.

In a statement to Nine News, a spokesperson for Christensen said the allegations were “highly defamatory”.

“Your allegation made about my client’s wife is denied and the so-called documentary proof that you refer to, is therefore either false or fabricated,” the spokesperson said.

“Slandering the wife of a sitting member of parliament, who is not in the public eye, is highly defamatory and needless to say the damages would be substantial.

“If you should publish anything that is false about my client or his wife, we are instructed to commence defamation proceedings.”

The AFP had previously briefed former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull six times on the matter and advised Christensen that his travel could put him at risk of blackmail. However, the organisation’s probe into Christensen’s overseas travel found “no evidence of wrongdoing” and “no evidence of criminal behaviour”.