There has been a surprising twist in the case of a high-profile businessman who was caught on video smoking a glass pipe.
Geoff Bainbridge resigned as chief executive of alcohol company Lark Distilling last week after a video was made public showing him smoking with the device.
The father of four, 50, claimed he was the victim of an extortion attempt, in which blackmailers threatened to release the video publicly unless he paid it off.
Bainbridge told The Age newspaper that the video was shot in Southeast Asia after a night out in 2015.
“The next morning, when Bainbridge awoke and discovered the two strange men, he quickly realized it was a shakedown,” the paper reported. “They threatened to expose him.”
But on Monday, doubts were cast over Bainbridge’s claims, with the Australian newspaper publishing photos saying the video was not filmed in Southeast Asia seven years ago, but in the bedroom of his $3 million Melbourne home he Bought 18 months ago .
New claims have emerged about the ice-cream smoking video with well-known businessman Geoff Bainbridge, which was shot in his bedroom (pictured) and not abroad, as he claims.
Real estate photos of Mr Bainbridge’s Middle Park home show it sharing the same unique light fixture and white wooden blinds seen in the viral businessman’s viral video last week.
Other distinguishing features of the room, such as the ornate ceiling decor, study nook, fireplace, and striking headboard, are featured in several unpublished videos obtained by the Australian.
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting that Mr Bainbridge is not telling the truth, just that a discrepancy has been expressed.
Bainbridge bought the home in the affluent suburb of Middle Park in Bayside in July 2020 for $3.46 million, which was settled the following month.
The publication reported documents from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning confirm the transfer of ownership of Middle Park to Mr Bainbridge as the ‘sole proprietor’ in August 2020.
ASIC documents also state that several of Mr. Bainbridge’s companies are registered at the same Middle Park address.
When asked about the apparent discrepancy in his story exposed by the lighting fixtures, Mr Bainbridge told The Australian ‘no comment/no response’.
Property photo shows the master bedroom signature lamp (pictured) featured in the video
Several distinguishing features of the bedroom were spotted in videos posted by Geoff Bainbridge
Mr Bainbridge stepped down as director of the publicly traded Lark Distillery because of the video.
He left his position at the whiskey distillery “with immediate effect to enable him to settle a personal matter”, then the Australian published images of him appearing to light the pipe.
“In the end I put myself in a situation where I shouldn’t have been,” he told Nine newspapers last week.
“I am a victim of extortion, but that would not have happened without my poor judgment. I deeply regret my own actions.’
Bainbridge told Nine he was not a typical drug ice cream user. The clip was shot after Bainbridge ended his association with Grill’d.
Australian businessman Geoff Bainbridge has resigned from his position as CEO of alcohol distillery Lark when a video appeared of him holding a glass pipe
The footage, reportedly shot in a Southeast Asian country in 2015, showed the now former chief executive saying, “Let’s get f***ing high together, honey. I’d smoke meth and just blow it all over your pussy.”
“I’m so high, I’m so fucking horny.”
He was seen wearing only a pair of underwear while mumbling 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 shocked. You’re like, ”what else happened? What else do I not remember? How am I going to explain this to anyone?” he said to the Herald.
“The reality for me is that there are images of me consuming Class A drugs in a foreign country. That has serious consequences.’
He claims the two men then threatened to make the footage public and demanded money from Bainbridge and he gave them $3,000.
A few years later they came back and demanded more money. Bainbridge gave them another $9,000 over 14 consecutive payments.
WhatsApp messages allegedly sent to Bainbridge by the men show that they are making threats to show the images to his children and the media.
“You just have to negotiate and everything will be fine,” someone said.
“Tick tock little man.”
Because of his apparent drug use, the businessman did not go to the police, but sought advice from a global risk advisory group.
He was told to either continue to pay off the men, or to hope they would leave, despite threatening to leak the vision to Australian news channels.
The video was shot after Bainbridge’s partnership with popular burger chain Grill’d. had ended
One video has been changed to appear as if it was shot last year instead of 2015.
Bainbridge’s lawyers told the Australian he was the subject of a “ongoing, sophisticated and recently intensified extortion attempts by persons abroad using manipulated unverified images’.
‘Mr Bainbridge’s attempted extortion began years before he had any involvement with Lark Distillery; and Mr Bainbridge has enlisted the help of London-based professionals in the extortion attempt.”
Bainbridge was appointed General Manager of Lark in 2019. Lark Distillery is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Bainbridge had also helped fund Grill’d with director Simon Crowe since 2004 before the couple got into an argument over ownership of the company in 2016.