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Big money awaits Australian drug mule Corby

07 february 2014, 13:09
High-profile Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby could earn millions of dollars for a tell-all story if she is released from an Indonesian jail Friday, with a bidding war reportedly in full swing, AFP reports.

The 36-year-old may be granted parole after more than nine years behind bars on the tourist playground of Bali, with Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin due to announce his decision later in the day.

Her case has attracted huge media attention and public fascination in Australia ever since she was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2005 after being caught trying to smuggle 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana into the resort island.

Corby's well-documented mental illness, steadfast proclamation of innocence and fight to be freed from the notorious Kerobokan prison has earned her sympathy, and commercial television networks and glossy magazines are desperate for the first interview.

There have been claims that the bidders would pay as much as Aus$3 million (US$2.7 million), although The Australian broadsheet said informed sources had told it that a more realistic price would be Aus$1 million.

Channel Ten confirmed to the newspaper that it was after the story, but was not willing to reveal figures.

"Like all media organisations, we'd love to get the interview," spokesman Neil Shoebridge said. "That's all we have to say."

According to reports, Channel Seven has sent the biggest crew to Bali, with 17 staff dispatched from Australia and another seven locals on board. Nine is said to have a total of eight while Ten has six.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott suggested that Corby should not profit by selling the story of her time behind bars.

"The old principle is crime should not pay," he said.

"But I don't want to say anything on this. I wouldn't want to prejudice the outcomes of any discussions that are going on about her tenure."

If released, Corby will not be able to return immediately to Australia. Instead, she will have to remain in Indonesia until 2017 when her sentence would be complete, as part of her parole conditions.

She would stay with sister Mercedes, who lives in Bali and is reportedly running the media auction.

The Australian public's fascination with Corby saw her release an autobiography, "My Story", in 2006. A documentary on her arrest, trial and imprisonment aired in 2007.

A television movie of her life, made by Channel Nine, is due to be shown this year.

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