SMH is kicking the crap out of Obeid

For years the Sydney Morning Herald has raised issues over the actions of Eddie Obeid and his family and for years they got threats and denials.

Now the ICAC has found them to be dodgy and corrupt they are kicking them hard in the slats.

For years Eddie Obeid, the humble backbencher on a salary of $130,000 a year, ticked the ”not applicable” box in his pecuniary interest declaration as to whether he received money from any trusts.

But the sensational recent corruption inquiry revealed that $30 million in profits from a corrupt coal deal flowed through a maze of Obeid family trusts.

The black money – coal profits – trickled into the accounts of Mr Obeid and his nine children, none of whom work outside the family businesses.

Luxury houses, fast cars and holiday apartments were bought and the affluent lifestyles of the Obeid offspring were maintained with the family’s ill-gotten loot.  

The whole family was involved and they are all cut from the same corrupt cloth.

This money ultimately found its way into the Obeid Family Trust No.1, to which the Obeids had appointed their least numerate family member as trustee.

Gerard Obeid, who is paid $10,000 a month as the family ”gopher” – driving his four brothers around and running errands – did not know he was the trustee of the Obeid Family Trust No.1.

The inquiry also heard he had no idea how he had paid for his $2.5 million house.

Commissioner David Ipp asked where he got the money to buy the house. Gerard Obeid replied: ”It was in the bank, your Honour.”

Pushed to explain where the money had come from, Gerard Obeid said he had no idea.

”The tooth fairy?” suggested the commissioner. ”You go through life without bothering about things like this, you leave it to somebody else to make sure that you have enough to live on and you’re happy with that?”

”Exactly, exactly, your Honour. I have no idea of how this works,” Gerard Obeid said.

It is also unlikely that even though he was the trustee of the Obeid Family Trust No.1, Gerard was aware of the 50-odd ”non-current assets” that the trust had ”loaned” sums of $9 million.

These include the Obeids’ ski lodge, The Stables, at Perisher; Milland Pty Ltd, which owns a vast estate at Port Macquarie which the Obeids are hoping to develop; and El-Telegraph newspaper.

Even the accountant was in on it.

In 2004, the trust lent money to Burwood Apartments Pty Ltd, run by the Obeids’ accountant, Sid Sassine.

There was also a loan to Blackwall Point Developments Pty Ltd, in which the Obeids had a secret investment, which played a mysterious role in the $10 million purchase of a large industrial estate in Chiswick. The land was re-zoned and on-sold for $17 million, leaving the Obeids with a tidy profit.

Then there was the $2.8 million loan to the Circular Quay restaurants, also secretly owned by the Obeids.

The Obeid accounts are looked after by Mr Obeid’s son-in-law Sam Achie, who receives a $55,000 salary as the Obeid Corporation’s financial controller.

Despite earning so little, and his wife Fiona Obeid not working, the couple bought a $1.415 million house and have submitted plans for a $1 million makeover of their Hunters Hill home.

Commissioner David Ipp put the following proposition to Mr Achie: ”The idea is that one for all, all for one, they operate together [as] an entity and no matter what the book entries are the idea is that at some point in the future there will be [an] equitable distribution of the profits and losses?”

”That’s a fair assumption, yes,” Mr Achie replied.

It was all just one big corrupt family. If thy were Italian instead of Lebanese they’d be Mafia.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.