Criminal charges could be next for former NSW Labor MPs Eddie Obeid and Ian MacDonald after a six-month corruption inquiry found they had acted dishonestly and referred their cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption, in its report released in Sydney today, found both engaged in corrupt conduct over a coal mine deal which netted the Obeid family $30 million.
After an inquiry which ran for months, ICAC said in its report that Macdonald, then the state resources minister, granted the lucrative Mount Penny coal mining licence over land owned by the Obeids in the New South Wales Bylong Valley.
It was decided the Obeids then encouraged their friends to buy land in that area, hiding their involvement through a complex financial web, which included the use of multiple companies.
As part of the slew of findings against Obeid, the commission also said the former MP and Labor power-broker acted corruptly when he, along with Ron Medich and Lucky Gatellari, arranged prostitutes as favours, according to ABC News.
Medich is a property tycoon accused of organising the contract killing of ex-business partner Michael McGurk, who was killed outside his North Shore home by a single bullet to the head in September 2009.
Gatellari is a former champion boxer who was sentenced to a minimum of seven-and-a-half years in prison in May over his role in McGurk’s murder. He pleaded guilty to being an accessory before the fact.
ICAC also found Obeid’s son, Moses, to have acted corruptly, and made similar findings against lawyers John McGuigan and John Atkinson, businessman John Kinghorn, and banker Richard Poole.
MacDonald was also accused in the ICAC report of giving misleading evidence, according to The ABC.
“In some instances, the commission has come to the view that Mr Macdonald deliberately gave untrue evidence,” the report said.
“The Commission came to a view that Mr MacDonald was tailoring his evidence to fit the evidence of other witnesses, and attempting to concoct an innocent explanation to explain away damming facts…
“Overall the Commission came to a view that it could not rely on any of the evidence of Mr Macdonald, save where it involved an admission against interest or where it was corroborated by evidence the Commission regarded as reliable.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this morning said anyone found to be corrupt in the inquiry “should face the full force of the law”.
“That’s what I want to see happen.”
The case has been passed along to the Director Of Public Prosecutions.
Also in line for charges over the Mount Penny deal are Eddie Obeid’s son Moses Obeid, Travers Duncan, John McGuigan, John Kinghorn, Richard Poole and John Atkinson.
Duncan, Poole, Atkinson and McGuigan may also be referred to the corporate regulator over suggestions they attempted to misleads the market.
ICAC also investigated former roads minister and treasurer Eric Roozendaal, over allegations he was bribed with a discounted car. He was found to have not acted corruptly.
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