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Properties sold as Obeid family quietly offloads assets

As disgraced former Labor minister Eddie Obeid and his son Moses wait to hear whether criminal charges will be laid over their involvement in a corrupt coal deal with former mining minister Ian Macdonald, they have been quietly selling assets.

Moses Obeid, 45, was photographed recently with a removalist truck outside his Vaucluse home. He told The Australian he had not sold his Olola Avenue home but was merely moving out while the house was renovated.

However, land title records reveal that the house, which the Obeids bought in May 2011, has been sold. Last month Toga Group executive general manager for development and construction Fabrizio Perilli and his wife Tanya lodged a caveat over the house. The document says Moses' wife, Nicole Obeid, contracted to sell the house to the Perillis on April 24. No sale price has been provided.

In July last year, the Independent Commission Against Corruption found that Eddie and Moses Obeid acted corruptly in relation to the corrupt coal deal that netted the Obeid family $30 million with the promise of another $30 million. Some of the crooked coal profits went towards the purchase of Moses and Nicole's house.

The Obeids have also sold their penthouse in Top Ryde for $2.25 million. The purchaser is former mayor of Canada Bay Michael Wroblewski and his wife, Gloria.

The Pope Street penthouse, which the Obeids bought for $1.48 million in March 2012, was used last year as collateral for a $1 million short-term loan. Fairfax Media has previously reported that the Obeid family bought a string of discounted apartments, including the penthouse, from developer Iwan Sunito's Crown Group.


The Obeid family recently established a company, Catarina Villages, which it plans to use as a marketing vehicle for the sale of a string of residential blocks being developed by the family at Lake Cathie, south of Port Macquarie.

The ICAC is yet to hand down final reports on a string of inquiries which have embroiled the Obeid family. They include secret interests the family held in cafes at Circular Quay, Australian Water Holdings and Direct Health Solutions, and whether the family tried to corruptly obtain water licences for their property at Bylong.

On Friday night, Premier Mike Baird and Opposition Leader John Robertson attended a function hosted by Mr Obeid's long-term business partner Wally Wehbe.

The Australian Middle East Media's gala dinner was held at the Bellevue function centre at Bankstown, a venue co-owned by Mr Wehbe and Mr Obeid. Mr Wehbe is the current proprietor of newspaper El Telegraph, which was previously owned by the Obeid family.

In 1986, Federal Court judge Ian Sheppard recommended that Mr Wehbe be charged with receiving 24,000 litres of petrol which he knew had been stolen from Caltex. ''The offences which I have found proved are each punishable by imprisonment. Furthermore, the fact that they have been committed tends to show that Mr Wehbe is dishonest or otherwise not of good character.'' Mr Wehbe was acquitted at trial when the key witness refused to testify.

Due to Mr Wehbe's close association with Mr Obeid, several members of the Lebanese community contacted the Premier's office last week, asking Mr Baird not to attend. The Premier declined to comment on any ''private discussions'' in relation to the event.

''The Australian Middle East Media Gala awards dinner is an important annual event on the multicultural calendar and has been regularly attended by members across political spectrum, including former premiers,'' he said.

''I was very pleased to acknowledge the contribution of the Middle Eastern media in NSW, which further enriches our state's multicultural fabric.''