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Macdonald would get $4m from rigged tender, ICAC told

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Astonishment over rigged tender

Greg Jones has told the ICAC inquiry that his close friend and former mining minister Ian Macdonald, was set to receive millions of dollars from a tender involving Eddie Obeid's family mining company. Kate McClymont reports.

A corruption inquiry has heard that the former mining minister Ian Macdonald was to be paid $4 million from the proceeds of an allegedly rigged tender he oversaw for a coal mine in which his close friend and the family of Eddie Obeid had a multimillion-dollar interest.

Greg Jones, a close friend of Mr Macdonald, has testified he told the disgraced former mining minister of the involvement of Mr Obeid's family in a mining company that won an allegedly corrupt tender in 2009.

And notes shown during the public hearing have been suggested to show that Greg Jones, a former Labor staffer and lifelong friend of Mr Macdonald, has channelled thousands of dollars in secret payments to his old mate.

Mr Jones said he told Mr Macdonald that he would reap millions of dollars himself from the same mine, and that he could use this money to invest in businesses Mr Macdonald was planning for life after politics.


He admitted lending Mr Macdonald $195,000 during the same period, thousands of which he wrote off and Mr Macdonald never repaid. Mr Jones has also confirmed that his own handwritten notes, shown at the inquiry, correctly recorded that he had given $35,000 "in cash and gifts" to Mr Macdonald.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating Mr Macdonald's role in the coal tender, including a $75 million windfall that was to make its way to Mr Obeid and his family.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson SC, suggested the same notes show Mr Jones was intending to give $4 million from the mining deal to Mr Macdonald.

''It was his cut,'' he alleged. Mr Jones denied this was the case.

Mr Watson also suggested a mooted forestry deal noted in the document would have led to a $300,000 payment - exactly half the profit from the deal - to Mr Macdonald. Mr Macdonald was the forestry minister at the time, and Mr Jones admitted he wanted Mr Macdonald to get him a meeting to further the deal.

The handwritten notes end with this sentence: "Need one more big mine."

Previously, Mr Jones had said he was angry with Mr Macdonald for resigning from Parliament in the wake of an expenses scandal.