How did you pay for $2.5m home? Money 'was in the bank' - Obeid
The $2.5million property in Hunters Hill is owned by Gerard Obeid's wife, Gwenda. Photo: Kate Geraghty
- The ICAC documents
- Macdonald would get $4m from rigged tender, ICAC told
- Opinion: Obeid case's eye-popping details have potential to draw blank
The millions of dollars the Obeid family has reaped from an allegedly corrupt government coal tender has been channelled through a series of trusts to purchase multimillion-dollar houses for a number of the nine Obeid children in the way of tax-free ''loans'', a corruption inquiry has heard.
However, three of the five sons of controversial former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid have told the Independent Commission Against Corruption they have either little or no knowledge of how the family trusts work or where the money comes from.
Money was just ''in the bank'' … Gerard Obeid at the inquiry. Photo: Nic Walker
Damning evidence given at the inquiry suggests the Obeids stood to make up to $100 million from a rigged government coal licence tender. The inquiry has heard the Obeid family engaged in a ''criminal conspiracy'' with then resources minister Ian Macdonald, who was to receive $4 million from the deal.
It has also heard that the family have already received $30 million which has gone through a complicated series of Obeid family trusts before being given to Mr Obeid, his wife Judy and their nine children, none of whom work outside the family business.
Gerard Obeid, who is paid $10,000 a month as the family ''gopher'' - driving his four brothers around and running errands - told the inquiry that he did not know he was the trustee of the Obeid Family Trust No.1, nor did he know how he had paid for his $2.5 million house.
Brothers Eddie Jnr, left, and Damien Obeid leaves ICAC after giving evidence of their assets. Photo: Ben Rushton
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?'' asked Commissioner Ipp.
''Exactly, exactly, your Honour. I have no idea of how this works,'' said Gerard Obeid.
He rejected the suggestion that ''you knew full well that your family were in cahoots with Macdonald in putting together this mining tenement for the financial betterment of your family''.
Following Gerard into the witness box was his older brother, Damien, who told the inquiry he looks after the family's agricultural interests. Damien Obeid, who is also paid $10,000 a month, was asked about the million dollars the family trust had lent him for his house.
He agreed the loan was interest free and that ''at this stage there is no intention'' of paying back the loan.
The Obeid accounts are looked after by brother-in-law Sam Achie, who receives a $55,000 salary as the Obeid Corporation's financial controller, but bought a $1.415 million house with his wife Fiona Obeid, who does not work. Plans have been submitted for a $1 million makeover of their Hunters Hill home.
When another son, Paul Obeid, was unable to explain the family trust accounts, which showed expenses such as school fees, golf club fees and $300,000 loans to business associates all coming out of the family trust, he agreed the accounts were a ''shambles''.
''Well, it looks like we're going to be looking for a new financial controller,'' he suggested.
The inquiry resumes on Monday.