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Brisbane Broncos have denied payments to coach Wayne Bennett received from entrepreneur Ken Talbot have anything to do with the club.
"I would like to stress that Wayne notified me of this matter earlier this year in confidence, and I kept that information in confidence," Cullen said.
"I would also like to point out that any arrangement between those two gentleman is a private matter and is not an issue for the Broncos."
But Griffith University ethicist Noel Preston said the public should have been made aware of the payments given to Bennett.
"Those who make considerable wealth out of the community have obligations to the whole community," he said.
"I do understand that Talbot has explained how he's a donor to a variety of charities but how transparent should that be?"
Talbot has an affiliation with the Broncos through the Thoroughbreds group, which was established to provide support to the club's players.
The founder of Macarthur Coal, Talbot was charged last January following a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation, which found he made payments to former Labor state minister Gordon Nuttall between 2002 and 2005 worth $300,000.
"I have helped him financially, yes... I've helped him for a couple of years actually," he said. "But it's particularly for his children.
"In principle, I have sought to help Wayne, and one day I hope his family can achieve the things they want to achieve.
"Wayne has enormous responsibility providing for those disadvantaged children. From that viewpoint, I'm happy to assist Wayne."