Australia Eddie Obeid's $7 million debt to NSW taxpayers

04:55  09 july  2018
04:55  09 july  2018 Source:   smh.com.au

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Coalition says taxpayers ‘deserve their money back’ after former minister fails in bid to get out of jail.

In March, the government sent Eddie Obeid’s lawyers a letter of demand giving him 28 days to repay more than $300,000 in taxpayer-funded legal assistance© Daniel Munoz In March, the government sent Eddie Obeid’s lawyers a letter of demand giving him 28 days to repay more than $300,000 in taxpayer-funded legal assistance The taxpayers of NSW are yet to recoup any of the estimated $7 million owed by the now-jailed former minister Eddie Obeid and his family.

“NSW taxpayers deserve their money back,” said a spokesperson for the NSW government, who added that actions were underway to recover some of these debts.

However, no action appears to have been taken over the largest of these debts, which involve legal costs in excess of $5 million and which the Obeids were ordered to pay 18 months ago.

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Jason chaffetz is not happy this guy is going around spending tons of money on lavish conferences while taxpayers foot the bill.

In 2016, the former Labor powerbroker and three of his sons, Paul, Moses and Eddie jnr, lost a lengthy legal battle which they had brought against the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the State of NSW, then Commissioner David Ipp, counsel assisting and several investigators from the corruption watchdog.

Justice David Hammerschlag was scathing about the case and, in a subsequent judgment on costs handed down in March 2017, he said, “There is no reason why costs should not follow the event, and every good reason why they should.”

As well as ordering the Obeids to pay the costs of every person they sued, Justice Hammerschlag ordered the family to pay indemnity costs for Commissioner Ipp.

The judge said that indemnity costs, which is intended to cover the entirety of Commissioner Ipp’s legal bill, may be ordered “where there has been unreasonable, inappropriate or otherwise unjustifiable behaviour of significance in connection with the conduct of proceedings”.

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The conduct of the Obeids in their failed case “satisfies all three of those descriptions,” said the judge.

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  Obeid family lose legal bid to shut down $700,000 Circular Quay battle The family of the jailed former Labor MP will be forced to account for cash payments they received from the Sydney cafes at the centre of his criminal trial.Obeid front company Circular Quay Restaurants, which ran three cafes on or near the bustling ferry wharves at the quay, went into liquidation in 2014 owing taxpayers almost $1 million in unpaid rent and other costs.

that two companies associated with Obeid have had debts of $AUD5 million written off by various banks.[26] It was also alleged that the Obeid family trust secured a loan " Eddie Obeid , former NSW Labor minister, given notice to submit passports". " Obeid seeks taxpayers ' cash in legal aid bid".

The agency reportedly spent million — of your tax money, by the way — to collect . 7 million in tax debts . "Private debt collectors cost the Internal Revenue Service million in the last fiscal year, but brought in only . 7 million in back taxes , the agency’ s taxpayer advocate reported

The multimillion-dollar cost of running the case for the corruption watchdog and its officers was paid for by the Treasury Managed Fund (TMF), the insurer which looks after NSW government agencies.

Moses Obeid and his company were ordered to pay the City of Sydney $16.6 million in damages and costs.© Stephanie Kelly Moses Obeid and his company were ordered to pay the City of Sydney $16.6 million in damages and costs. What is frustrating, claim those involved in the matter, is that the TMF is yet to seek recovery from the Obeids.

Following the costs order, the TMF was sent letters seeking updates on the recovery of costs from the Obeids but no response was received. “TMF was just a black hole…it was like sending it to the dead letter office,” said one of those involved in the litigation.

“I just cannot believe the Obeids are not being forced to repay that money to the people of NSW,” said another.

The TMF is yet to provide a response to Fairfax Media.

In March, the government sent Eddie Obeid’s lawyers a letter of demand giving him 28 days to repay more than $300,000 in taxpayer-funded legal assistance for three ICAC operations - Cyrus, Meeka and Cabot. To date no payment has been received.

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Corrupt former Labor minister Eddie Obeid has been forced to surrender his passport as he faces prosecution for misconduct in public office. Mr Baird also confirmed that, once Obeid ’ s avenues for appeal are exhausted, the Government will move to recover taxpayer -funded legal assistance that

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Obeid has since been jailed over Operation Cyrus, which found he had acted corruptly over his family’s secret involvement in café leases at Circular Quay.

In addition, the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Fund Trustee is trying to recover $660,000 which has been paid to Obeid as part of his parliamentary pension.

Attempts to recover almost $1 million in unpaid rent and other costs from the three café leases the Obeid family once owned at Circular Quay have also proved unsuccessful to date.

“The corrupt actions of former Labor Minister Eddie Obeid constitute a complete betrayal of public trust,” said the NSW government spokesperson.

Solicitor Nick di Girolamo, Moses Obeid, Eddie Obeid Junior with beard, solicitor Tim Breene and Paul Obeid on far right at Obeid v ICAC.© Peter Rae Solicitor Nick di Girolamo, Moses Obeid, Eddie Obeid Junior with beard, solicitor Tim Breene and Paul Obeid on far right at Obeid v ICAC. “Action is underway to force Mr Obeid to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds, including legal representation funding and parliamentary superannuation entitlements, in relation to cases against him which have been finalised,” he said.

The City of Sydney knows how difficult it is recovering money from the Obeids. In 2012 Justice Clifford Einstein described Moses Obeid's conduct as "dishonest and fraudulent" and ordered him and his company to pay the council $12 million for secretly selling the council's multifunction poles overseas in breach of licensing agreements.

With interest and other court costs, the council's debt ballooned to $16.6 million. Moses Obeid successfully removed himself from any personal liability and by the time the council finally removed the Obeid-appointed liquidators from his company Streetscape, the cupboard was bare.

After spending millions of dollars in legal fees, in the end the council gave up rather than incurring further legal costs. “It is clear from Mr Obeid’s conduct to date that Streetscape and Mr Obeid will continue to use legal action to avoid making payment to the City," a spokesman for the City of Sydney said in 2014.

However, it was documents uncovered during this court case which eventually brought the Obeids undone and saw the family patriarch jailed.

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