Aspiring prime minister Clive Palmer has accused Rupert Murdoch's ex-wife Wendy Deng of being a Chinese spy who had been keeping tabs on the media mogul before their split in June.
The extraordinary claims, made during an interview on TODAY, visibly shocked host Karl Stefanovic, who told Mr Palmer he should not make such accusations without proof.
"You know Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng is a Chinese spy," Palmer said.
"She's been spying on Rupert for years, giving money back to Chinese intelligence."
Stefanovic was forced to interrupt his guest, asking him if he had "lost the plot."
The billionaire, who is running for the Queensland seat of Fairfax in Saturday's federal election, made the claims during an extended rant against Murdoch.
"He owns Newspoll, he owns Galaxy Poll and he said he's going to support Tony Abbott as prime minister," he said.
He also blasted Murdoch's Australian and Daily Telegraph newspapers as being the mouthpiece for the mogul.
READ MORE: Palmer threatens to sue Murdoch
At one stage during the interview, Mr Palmer took exception to a question about an email sent to his staff during the week.
The message, which asked employees to volunteer at polling booths on Saturday, led Stefanovic to ask if workers' jobs were at risk if they did not turn up to help.
"If I've done something illegal, go to the police, mate, but talk about some decent stuff on your program or your ratings will go through the floor," Palmer hit back.
When Palmer dismissed polling that showed he would possibly win one Senate seat — instead claiming his Palmer United Party candidates would win 10 seats — Stefanovic again questioned whether the mining magnate was deceiving himself.
"I think it's something you might aspire to, I just think you might have lost the plot," Stefanovic said.
When the interview concluded, the camera switched to co-host Ben Fordham, whose facial expression revealed his own astonishment at the interview that just unfolded.
"Can we keep that going?" Fordham said.