There has been a new twist in the tale of a high-profile businessman who was caught on video smoking from a glass pipe.
Geoff Bainbridge resigned as chief executive of alcohol business Lark Distilling last week after a video appearing to show him smoking with the device went public.
The father-of-four co-founder of burger chain Grill’d, 50, claimed he was the victim of an extortion attempt.
Mr Bainbridge told The Age newspaper he had been haunted by attempts to extort him since a video was apparently filmed in south-east Asia, following a big night out in 2015.
‘The next morning, when Bainbridge awoke to discover the two strange men, he soon realised it was a shakedown,’ the newspaper reported. ‘They threatened to expose him’.
But on Monday doubt was cast on Mr Bainbridge’s claims, with The Australian newspaper claiming the glass pipe clip appeared to have been filmed at his $3million Melbourne home.
Fresh claims have emerged about the ice-smoking video featuring high profile businessman Geoff Bainbridge that it was filmed in his bedroom (pictured) and not overseas as he claims
Real estate photographs of Mr Bainbridge’s home in Middle Park show it shares the same unique light fitting as period shutters that were seen in the viral businessman’s viral video last week.
Other distinctive features of the room such as the ornate ceiling decor, a study nook, a fireplace and a distinctive bedhead can be seen in several unpublished videos obtained by The Australian.
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting Mr Bainbridge isn’t telling the truth, simply that a discrepancy was raised.
Mr Bainbridge purchased the home in the ritzy suburb of Middle Park for $3.465m in July 2020, which was settled the following month.
The publication reported Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning documents confirm the transfer of the Middle Park property into Mr Bainbridge’s name as the ‘sole proprietor’ in August 2020.
ASIC documents also list several of Mr Bainbridge’s businesses are registered to the same Middle Park address.
When asked about the apparent discrepancy in his story exposed by the light fittings, Mr Bainbridge told The Australian ‘no comment/no response’.
Real estate photo shows the master bedroom’s distinctive light fixture (pictured) which features in the video
Several distinctive features of the bedroom were spotted in videos posted by Geoff Bainbridge
Mr Bainbridge quit as managing director of the publicly listed Lark Distillery over the video.
He left his post at the whiskey distillery business ‘effective immediately to enable him to manage a personal matter’, after The Australian published footage of him appearing to light up the pipe.
‘Ultimately, I put myself in a situation I shouldn’t have been in,’ he told Nine newspapers last week.
‘I’m a victim of extortion but that wouldn’t have occurred without my poor judgment. I am deeply remorseful for my own actions.’
Bainbridge told Nine he was not a typical user of the drug ice. The clip was filmed after Bainbridge ended his association with Grill’d.
Aussie businessman Geoff Bainbridge has quit his CEO post at alcohol distillery Lark as video emerged of him holding a glass pipe
In the footage, which was reportedly taken in 2015 in a south-east Asian country, the now-former CEO was heard saying: ‘Let’s get f***ing high together baby. I’d smoke meth and just blow it all over your c*** babe.’
‘I’m so high, I’m so f***ing horny.’
He was seen wearing just a pair of underwear while muttering into the camera, in the video published by The Australian.
Bainbridge claimed he woke up after a night of partying to find two strange men showing him the footage of him with the pipe.
Bainbridge told Nine newspapers that he believed he was the victim of an extortion attempt.
‘I was just horrified. You are like, ”what else happened? What else don’t I remember? How am I going to explain this to anyone?”’ he told the Herald.
‘The reality for me is there is footage of me consuming class-A drugs in a foreign country. That has serious ramifications.’
He claims the two men then threatened to expose the footage, and demanded money from Bainbridge and he gave them $3,000.
A few years later they came back again demanding more money. Bainbridge gave them another $9,000 over 14 consecutive payments.
WhatsApp messages supposedly sent from the men to Bainbridge show them making threats to show the footage to his children and the media.
‘You just need to negotiate and everything will be OK,’ one said.
‘Tik tok little man.’
Due to his apparent drug use, the businessman did not take the matter to police but sought advice from a global risk consultancy group.
He was told to either continue paying off the men or hope they would go away, despite them making threats to leak the vision to Australian news outlets.
The video was filmed after Bainbridge ended his association with popular burger chain Grill’d
One video has been altered to appear it had been filmed last year instead of 2015.
Bainbridge’s lawyers told the Australian he was the subject of a ‘continuing, sophisticated and recently intensified extortion attempt by persons overseas using manipulated unverified images’.
‘The attempted extortion of Mr Bainbridge commenced years before he had any involvement in Lark Distillery; and Mr Bainbridge has sought the assistance of London-based professionals with the extortion attempt.’
Bainbridge was appointed the managing director of Lark in 2019. Lark Distillery is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Bainbridge had also helped run Grill’d since 2004 with with managing director Simon Crowe before the pair fell out in 2016 over the ownership of the business.