GYNAECOLOGIST Peter Petros had already fended off two misconduct investigations when health officials sought answers about his financial interest in pelvic mesh surgery at Sydney Private Hospital in 2014.
So when he emailed former University of Newcastle associate professor and gynaecologist Richard Reid about the investigation into their joint surgery at the hospital, he assured his colleague he could "mollify" investigators.
For the next two years Dr Petros gave "misleading and untruthful information" to investigators in a "drip feed of information and misinformation", a tribunal was told on Monday.
But Health Care Complaints Commission investigators kept digging, barrister for the HCCC Kate Richardson, SC said.
They found the family trust company structure that showed how Dr Petros benefited from the surgery using his mesh device, and how he resigned his directorships within weeks of the complaint that started the HCCC investigation.
Dr Petros is facing professional misconduct proceedings after a woman implanted with his Tissue Fixation System (TFS) pelvic mesh device at Sydney Private Hospital without her consent suffered severe and permanent injuries.
The woman complained about why Dr Petros was in the operating theatre in 2013 when Dr Reid implanted the device without her knowledge, and why Dr Petros's financial interest was not disclosed.
But the tribunal heard Dr Petros had disclosed his invention of the device and "continuing involvement" with it to a Sydney Private Hospital medical advisory committee made up of surgeons and hospital executives.
Hospital chief executive Michelle Sloane is expected to give evidence on Tuesday about how the medical advisory committee required Dr Petros to supervise Dr Reid for three months after Dr Reid was suspended following a surgical emergency involving a woman patient.
Ms Sloane will also give evidence about how a condition of Dr Reid's reinstatement was that he "adopt... the Tissue Fixation System (TFS) for his pelvic floor surgical cases" after his suspension was lifted.
The TFS device was cancelled by Australia's medical device regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, in November, 2014, less than 18 months after the hospital committee directed its use by Dr Reid.
The TGA cancelled the device after Adelaide firm TFS Manufacturing, owned by former Newcastle Falcons basketballer Paul Zadow, failed to provide evidence to substantiate the device's safety and efficacy.
The tribunal heard Dr Petros's family trust company made substantial loans of more than $2 million to TFS Manufacturing, including a single loan of $1.2 million to the company in 2016 during a period when it was fighting the TFS cancellation.
In a recorded interview with HCCC investigators, after Dr Petros was warned it was an offence to give false evidence, he said he had divested himself of any commercial interest in the TFS device.
Asked what his on-going interest in the device was, if it wasn't money, Dr Petros replied: "Love."
"There was not only no disclosure of his interest in the device, there was misinformation," Ms Richardson told the tribunal.
"There was no disclosure of anything to do with the loans until November, 2016. For a full 18 months there was not a word about substantial loans from the family trust to the device manufacturer."
The tribunal was told Dr Petros admitted two of the charges against him - that he had a financial interest in the device between 2009 and July 7, 2014 as a beneficiary of the family trust that owned the company that held the intellectual property in the TFS device.
He denied he received a financial interest from the loans after the tribunal heard he signed a licence deed with TFS Manufacturing that paid him no fees or royalties, and where interest on the loans accrued but was not paid.
The tribunal was told Dr Petros resigned as director of the family trust and company on July 7, 2014 and his son Emmanuel took over as director only three days before an HCCC deadline for responding to its initial investigation letter.
"There's a fair bit of magic about that date," Ms Richardson told the hearing.
It continues in Sydney on Tuesday.