Obeid’s sons face millions in fines over coal licence tender
TWO sons of corrupt NSW MP Eddie Obeid face massive fines for allegedly rigging a tender in 2009 for a coal exploration licence under their Hunter Valley farm at Mount Penny that earned the family $30 million.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has started civil proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Moses and Paul Obeid and related companies.
The ACCC has also sued Cascade Coal and Cascade executives John McGuigan, Richard Poole and James McGuigan.
The commission claims an Obeid-related company called Loyal secretly agreed to withdraw from a competitive tender for the exploration licence under the Obeids' Mount Penny farm.
This withdrawal allowed Cascade to win the tender.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said Loyal, which held 25% interest in the project, later sold that interest for benefits valued at $60 million, of which about $30 million was cash distributed to beneficiaries of an Obeid family trust.
"That cash went to a range of Obeid family interests ... but the two people most closely involved, we allege, are Moses and Paul Obeid," Mr Sims told the ABC yesterday.
The ACCC said the alleged deal cost NSW taxpayers millions in lost fees.
"Loyal, which was linked to Obeid family interests, was going to pay $25 million to the NSW Government," Mr Sims alleged.
However, early last year legislation was passed that effectively cancelled the licence in light of the inquiry's findings.
Mr Sims said the usual civil penalties were $10million per offence and it would be up to the court to determine how many breaches occurred.