$450,000 in sham loans to throw ICAC off the scent
Amy Dale and Vanda Carson
The Daily Telegraph
February 15, 201312:00AM
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Out to lunch »
Out to lunch
Forced to answer humiliating questions about prostitutes, former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald admits he was ‘out to lunch’, while working f…
0:00 / 1:46
Disgraced … Ian Macdonald at ICAC / Pic: Ross Schultz Source: The Daily Telegraph
IAN Macdonald and his business partner created “sham” backdated loans as a cover-up for payments made to the former minister ahead of his windfall from an Obeid-linked coal deal, a corruption inquiry was told yesterday.
The scheme, dubbed an “ICAC loan”, was concocted after the corruption watchdog demanded financial records from John Gerathy, who paid Mr Macdonald $450,000 in less than two years.
Commissioner David Ipp said “we have a saying here that an ICAC loan is a transaction which is a gift but is really described as a loan and which has the security documents put in to create a sham, a disguise.”
The comments were made after Mr Gerathy’s barrister suggested the payments made to Mr Macdonald were to do with Chinese business ventures involving the pair and not the ICAC allegation that the money was “bank rolling” the former resources minister until he received a cut from a proposed $486 million coal deal linked to the Obeid family.
The cash kept rolling in for Macca»
IAN Macdonald received $450K to keep him “rolling along” until a million-dollar windfall from a coal deal came through, ICAC heard.
High cost of an expensive lifestyle»
HOW much was enough?
Macdonald ‘doesn’t think’ he got $30k»
IAN Macdonald “doesn’t think” he received $30,000 in cash and gifts but admits he received “presents” from the millionaire mining investor.
ICAC to Macdonald: you’re a crook»
AFTER almost 40 jabs it was time for the ICAC to try a knock-out line as it stared down Ian Macdonald with its hardest accusation yet.
Cleaning up to good old cleaning»
PERHAPS the most puzzling evidence yesterday was Ian Macdonald’s claim: “I do cleaning and work associated with a shop and I’m pretty busy.”
But it sure was not a lie»
IAN Macdonald was not lying when he said he found Mt Penny in an atlas. You just need a microscope to find it.
A few words in mate’s ear»
IAN Macdonald’s former chief of staff was paid $740,000 by miners to lobby his close friend and admitted yesterday he might have urged his former boss to reopen the tender process on behalf of mining company White Energy.
Smile could well become a grimace»
HE entered and left with the grin of a Cheshire Cat. But after years to prepare himself for his answer to the reason he put a mining tenement on former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid’s farm, the best Ian Macdonald could offer was that he spotted the coal tenement on an atlas in his office – an atlas which he no longer had.
Macdonald denies lying about Obeid land»
DISGRACED former minister Ian Macdonald has denied he created a coal mining tenement in the Bylong Valley of NSW to benefit the Obeid family.
Minister’s ex-aide lobbied for mine firms»
IAN Macdonald has started a fiery stint in the ICAC witness box, telling the inquiry he cannot explain how a new mining tenement was created “smack bang on top of the Obeid family farm.”
Wiping smiles off their faces»
IAN Macdonald forged determinedly through the media scrum outside the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s HQ this week.
Macdonald ‘side swiped’ by Obeids »
EX-Minister felt “swiped from the side” when Obeids went on to earn millions from coal deal after he provided a list of mining company names to them.
The state’s most important corruption inquiry yesterday finished with its most important witness – Mr Macdonald stepped down at 4pm after a tense three days in the witness box where he was grilled over his role in allegedly providing inside information to the Obeids which saw them receive millions from a coal mining venture.
Mr Macdonald, who yesterday confirmed he received his parliamentary super as a lump sum payment in June 2010, told the hearing that by August 2011 his overseas business dreams, including a possible coal deal with Paul Obeid in Indonesia, had ground to a halt – and with it, his plans to use that cash to repay the loan to Mr Gerathy.
It is understood his parliamentary payout could have been as high as $1.3 million.
Mr Macdonald was asked about the $805 restaurant bill he racked up while he was at the Obeids’ Perisher chalet in July 2008, shortly after providing a list of 12 coal companies that were to bid for the Bylong Valley exploration licence to Moses Obeid.
“Is there any other place to eat (at Perisher)?” Mr Hale asked.
“A small kitchen,” he said, adding he used the ski trip to “meet with chalet owners”.
Mr Macdonald also defended himself from accusations he was a “Sir Lunchalot”, which crippled the latter part of his political career.
He said he used his one-hour lunch break each day to “meet with stakeholders” rather than “have a few sandwiches in the office”.
Mr Ipp said he would hand down his findings on four probes into alleged corruption in July.
The four inquiries include the sensational 2011 inquiry involving Mr Macdonald and the prostitute Tiffanie as well as the inquiry dubbed “Honda-gate” about a discount car given to former roads minister Eric Roozendaal, the current inquiry and Operation Acacia inquiry into the Yarrawa tenement which begins next month.
Mr Ipp said the upcoming committal hearing for businessman Ron Medich for the murder of Michael McGurk meant the corruption inquiry’s findings needed to be completed swiftly.
The counsel assisting ICAC alleged Mr Macdonald received a “therapeutic massage” from Tiffanie in a Sydney hotel for arranging for Mr Medich to meet energy bosses.
The current hearing will resume on March 5 to hear from ICAC investigators and the Obeid family accountant, Sid Sassine.