Andrew Denton: Whenever I mention to people, "I'm interviewing Alan Bond," they say, "Oh, has he got his memory back?" Because they remember you from those court cases in 1994 where you were apparently very, very sick. How sick were you?
Alan Bond: I was very, very ill. I was in a very deep state of depression and I just couldn't remember anything. I mean, I couldn't even remember two hours before. It wouldi??just wenti??it just went blank. And I had an infection of the kidneys and I was in no position to actually attend anything.
Andrew Denton: The court had you examined by some neurological experts and they found differently, didn't they? They found that they could see noi??that they could see some physical problems but they could see no indication of memory loss.
Alan Bond: Do you know, that's, umi??not right either. Um, but that doesn't surprise me. That's not in the book, buti??thei??
Andrew Denton: Is it possible that things happened that weren't in the book, Alan?
Alan Bond: Well, I could fill five books. I could fill five books.
Andrew Denton: I'm sure you could.
Alan Bond: So is it practicali??how far you go into everything? But what you're talking about now was in a different time in the sense that I'd had open-heart surgery and I had some embolisms and the embolisms showed on them that there was somei?? I had some minori??strokes during the period of that open-heart surgery. And you could go to 10 heart specialists and they'd tell you in 10% of cases little air bubbles get ini??
Andrew Denton: But what I'm talking about wasn't a different time, this was when your doctors told the court you were too sick to testify. They had you examined and they found you weren't.
Alan Bond: That's not true either. They didn't. The court never did an examination.
Andrew Denton: Two neurological experts?
Alan Bond: They did not do an examination. They examinedi??they examined the X-rays. I was never given an examination other than by our own independent doci??independent doctor. I was very ill. I mean, the reality is if anybody's been in deep depression, you can attest to iti??i?? you either were or you weren't. And I really was in a very, very difficult position. Um, you know, it was life-threatening, really. So I can only leave it at that.
Andrew Denton: I don't reckon most people believe you. Why do you think that is?
Alan Bond: Well, I think a lot of people do believe it, quite frankly.
Andrew Denton: It's just that I'm going on the reactioni?? It's always the same. "Has he got his memory back?"
Alan Bond: That's a standard joke around town. "Got your memory back?" But the reality is that I was, and I'd had enormous pressure and the system wasi??er, had stopped. I was on heavy medication. Um, I wasi??I had been in a, umi??in with a psychologist and I'd been hospitalised for a week prior to this and I was in a pretty difficult position, quite frankly.
Andrew Denton: Let's talk about something else that's not in the book. I'm sorry about this, but the receiver that was taking you to court at this time, when you were too ill to remember, subpoenaed the phone records from the hotel you were staying at during the court case. And according to the phone records, you would be in the stand, not being able to remember much, if anything, then you'd go home and you'd make calls to Switzerland, USA, UK, India, Pakistan, Singapore, also 24 calls to a businessman in Australia with whom you were setting up a gold deal, that you went on to send faxes, 65 international calls, including one to a phone box at Zurich railway station, six to the Zurich Hilton and one to a number Swiss authorities identified as the Zuger Kantonalbank. How could that have happened?
Alan Bond: You know, when you're at the point of a nervous breakdown, um, you do silly things. You ring everybody and you don't even know what you're doing.
Andrew Denton: You were just ringing the Swiss bank toi??"I'm whooooo!"
Alan Bond: I never made a call to a Swiss bank. I mean, that's ridiculous to say that, 'cause it's not true. But the bottom line of it is, though, that I made lots of calls, but it's like a person's having a nervous breakdowni??i?? you're hyperactive, you're beingi??I was on huge medication. And you come out of the court, you can hardly stand, you get back to the hotel, and then your mind is just racing, and you just ring everybody that you can think of and you're doing calls and you're making silly conversations. And that's what occurred.
Andrew Denton: So it was a cry for help?
Alan Bond: Um, it was on the verge of a nervous breakdown to such an extent that, um, there was no logic to what I was doing. There was just no logic at all.
Andrew Denton: Later that year you took the stand again. You actually collapsed on the first day in court. Do you remember that?
Alan Bond: Um, I was very ill.
Andrew Denton: Mm.
Alan Bond: Umi??
Andrew Denton: You actually had to physically excuse yourself.
Alan Bond: Well, that wasi??that happened a couple of times, actually, but, eri??
Andrew Denton: Because that same day you collapsed in court, three businessmen on St Bees Island in the Whitsundays saw you, and they came over to Perth and gave secret testimony, and the testimony was that that very weekend, 48 hours beforehand, you'd been with them, snorkelling and walking and conducting business deals, and were in rude good health. Now, how do we explain that?
Alan Bond: Well, that's not true. I wasn't in good health at all. I'd gone to the Whii?? I'd gone to St Bees Island to try and have a rest. And the mind was still very active. It was like, umi?? It was like a hyperactive situation. You can't sleep, you're constantly awake, and you're physically exhausted and you talk about things. Um, and we were talking about all sorts of things that when you look back on it now, they just didn't make any sense at all.
Andrew Denton: Should you have been up for a Logie, really, Alan?
Alan Bond: Umi?? Er, no, I should have had a lot more compassion. And people who've had depression that will watch this program will understand, and those who haven't had it, er, hope they never do get it.
Andrew Denton: It's a hideous disease and I couldn't agree with that more. In the booki??i?? in this book, which I've read, you, umi??
Alan Bond: Partially read it. Perhaps you didn't understand it.
Andrew Denton: You're right. There were a whole lot of things I didn't understand. And that's why it's great we have a chance to chat. In the book, you suggest that there was a conspiracy to get you to court, to bring you down, that people in power wanted to see you brought down.
Alan Bond: Yes.