Eddie Obeid. Photo: Ben RushtonCorrupt former Labor minister EddieObeidand his son Moses have beenchargedovera $30 million coal deal, as authorities tighten the net around the one-time powerbroker and his familyovera series of business deals.
Obeidis already facing jail time after being convicted in June of misconduct in public officeoverhis business dealings at Circular Quay.
Fairfax Media can now reveal the 72-year-old and his entrepreneurial middle son Moses, 47, were quietlychargedlast yearovera coal deal at Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee. The identity of a third personchargedoverthe same matter cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
The conspiracy charges relate to a lucrative coal tenement the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard was created “smack bang” on top of theObeidfamily’s rural property Cherrydale Park whileObeidwas in office.
The charges against father and son follow an explosive 2012 ICAC inquiry, which revealed theObeidfamily received a $30 million windfall from the coal deal.
The corruption uncovered in that inquiry and others involving former NSW Labor figures was famously described as “on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps”.
The fact thatObeidhad beenchargedoverthe Mount Penny coal deal was suppressed to ensure thatObeidsenior suffered no prejudice in his recent criminal trial in the NSW Supreme Courtoverhis business dealings at Circular Quay.
He was convicted on June 28 of misconduct in public office and the Crown is pushing for a jail sentence. DuringObeid’s three-week trial the Supreme Court heard the then upper house MP lobbied Steve Dunn, then deputy chief executive of the state maritime authority, to benefit retail tenants at Circular Quay “under the cloak” of acting for arm’s-length constituents.
In fact,Obeidwas acting in his private interests. The jury heard his family had a secret interest in two cafes on wharves four and five at Circular Quay and they were among a group of tenants seeking to have their leases renewed without competing in a public tender.
August is set to be a busy month for the former Labor powerbroker. On August 12, Justice Robert Beech-Jones will hear submissions about a possible jail term forObeidoverthe Circular Quay cafes.
On August 29, Eddie and MosesObeidwill appear in the Downing Centre Local Court for a committal hearingoverthe conspiracy charges, slated to run for five days. The first two weeks of August will be taken up by a civil case in whichObeidand three of his five sons – Moses, Paul and Eddie jnr – are suing former ICAC commissioner David Ipp, counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson, SC, and another seven ICAC officers for “misfeasance in public office”.
The Obeids maintain they were unfairly targeted by the corruption watchdog and the family want damages for their economic loss and for the “significant stress, mental anxiety and injury” they claim to have suffered.
Other legal matters on foot for theObeidfamily include the ongoing stoush between the Australian Taxation Office and family matriarch JudyObeidand eight of her nine children.
In addition, Moses and Paul are being pursued in court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for alleged bid-rigging conduct in relation to two lucrative coal exploration licences. One of the licences wasoverthe Mount Penny property.
The ACCC is seeking monetary penalties and costs as well as orders that the men be disqualified from managing companies for a set time.
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