Australia's secret service has raided the home of a Canberra lawyer who intends to allege in an international court in The Hague that Australia bugged the East Timorese Cabinet ahead of sensitive oil and gas revenue-sharing negotiations.
East Timor will go before the Permanent Court of Arbitration on Thursday to challenge the validity of a bilateral agreement struck with Australia in 2006 over sharing seabed oil and gas reserves between the countries because of the alleged espionage.
Australian Attorney General George Brandis confirmed that he had authorized search warrants that were executed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization in Canberra on Tuesday.
Lawyer Bernard Colleary, who represents East Timor, has confirmed that his home was raided.
Brandis said the raids were not conducted to help Australia fight the court case.