Macdonald had 14 bank accounts, ICAC told
Date February 13, 2013 – 1:24PM 136 reading now
Linton Besser and Kate McClymont
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“Farm enterprises” … Ian Macdonald arrives at the ICAC inquiry.
The disgraced former resources minister Ian Macdonald had 14 separate bank accounts during his time as a NSW cabinet minister, a corruption inquiry has been told.
Mr Macdonald accepted it might be possible he had that many, but suggested some might be related to several “farm enterprises”, and said he didn’t know whether all of them were “operational”.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption is questioning Mr Macdonald over almost $200,000 in loans he had received from his former best friend, Greg Jones.
Mr Jones was also a secret investor in Cascade Coal, which was awarded a lucrative exploration licence in 2009 over a coal tenement at Mt Penny, near Mudgee, which is the subject of the inquiry.
The corruption watchdog has alleged Mr Macdonald and the family of ALP kingpin Eddie Obeid had conspired to manipulate the awarding of the licence, which happened to sit over three properties controlled by the Obeids.
Together with a secret stake in Cascade, the Obeids stood to make as much as $100 million from the allegedly corrupt deal. Mr Jones, and other investors in Cascade Coal, hoped to turn their $1 million investment into $500 million windfall by selling the licence to a larger, related company.
Mr Macdonald, who is being interrogated for a third day at the ICAC, has repeatedly denied knowing of the Obeids’ interest in the properties making up the tenement itself or, indeed, in Cascade Coal.
Earlier, Mr Macdonald said he thought it was acceptable for a minister to “shield” himself behind his department.
“Do you think it is improper for a politician who is a cabinet minister to take actions he knows are unpopular and then require his department to put their stamp on the decision so they attract the blame and not the minister?” asked the Commissioner, David Ipp QC.
“I don’t think it is improper,” Mr Macdonald replied.
The questions were targeted at a decision in late 2008 and early 2009 to reopen the controversial select tender. It was only after the process was reopened that Cascade Coal won the tender for Mt Penny.
Mr Macdonald resigned from NSW Parliament in June 2010 following allegations that he made “errors” in his travel expenses relating to a 2008 trip to Italy and Dubai.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/macdonald-had-14-bank-accounts-icac-told-20130213-2eccd.html#ixzz2KkYNpF3p