Miracle Accountant and Corruption

Solicitor John Gerathy is one of the witnesses in an independent commission against corruption.

 Solicitor John Gerathy , was relaxing  Saturday morning in his multimillion dollar waterfront apartment in Wolloomooloo. He was able to disclose this in a phone interview that he got some guests who visited him in his home.

The Herald revealed that he had a check up last month in a mental asylum and he told corruption investigators he was too ill to witness.

Operation Jasper, the independent commission against corruption finished its inquiries and about to start the hearing the following week.

Gerathy , who is 67 years old is Macdonald’s business partner and  Sid Sassine 47 years old,  Obeid’s accountant. These two are vital witnesses in the independent commission against corruption were both previously been unavailable. Sid Sassine was out of the country while Gerathy had his check up. He refused to reveal his present illness condition and  recovery .Gerathy  didn’t give assurance regarding his health but  instead gave hope to   give evidence by Tuesday.

Minister Ian’Macdonald ,  was humiliated on Gerathy’s declaration. He described him as the” crucial witness” in the state’s most sensational corruption inquiry. It was clear that Gerathy allegedly robbed Macdonald   $550,000 and why in his own hand wrting appeared that Macdonald received up to $4 million government coal tender and another $30 million given to former power broker Edie Obeid.

Gerathy made previous unpleasant testimonies with evidences where his last was November.  He was confronted with the accusation of breach of commission’s confidentiality. His attention was caught when Macdonald personally phoned him regarding his action of revealing the files.  He was heard by the commission he retrieved this legal file from his old firm. But learned that these are files of Alan Fang are missing.

 Fang was a Chinese business man and close to Macdonald. He was Obeid’s initial choice to coal licensing in 2008 but was overseen by Mcdonald. That time Gerathy was Fang’s lawyer. Fang met the son of Obeid Moses and learned the details of Fang’s company buying the Obeid’s land. The Obeids used  the information from  Macdonald to buy key properties that would fall under new coal exploration area this was to be announced  by Macdonald later of 2008. Fang followed Obeid in the witness box a month ago and in june 2008. Fang revealed that he is into joined mining venture with the Obeid family. this is exactly before the government announced its call for tenders for the exploration licenses for new mining areas. Fang mentioned Macdonald was aware of the deal .it was only one week that Fang met the Obeids.

All these lies prompted one press veteran Alex Mitchell to write an article on how did Mr Fang able to conduct various meetings with government officials with only very limited time .On the other hand Gerathy was  appointed to two government  positions, thus these accusers were very sure Gerathy  would be pinned down.

But going back to accountant Sassine and the Obeids  are all Lebanese. The Obeid family took Sassine as family accountant since 2002. He was accused of being responsible of154 errors in favor of the Obeid’s interests. Obeid defended Sassine and noted “that they know him very well for 10 years. He was able to accomplish miracle accounts compared to others who failed”. They even recommended him to potential clients as evidenced to the Obeid’s brothers Paul and Moses on their websites .But unfortunately all of these miracle performances and tribute suddenly disappeared since the allegations started.

The commission heard that it was Sassine who channeled the transfer of million dollars from coal deal to series of family trust fund and were able to live lavishly. To the nine children who used the allegedly tainted money in buying luxurious cars and houses. The Obeid family lived beyond their means under their Family Obeid Corporation.

The Supreme Court declares that Sassine was also the accountant of other companies who unfortunately were suspended, and still others serving imprisonment and home detention. Mostly escaped their arrest all because of Sassine’s substancial involvement and facilitation. He also assisted the Obeid  family in hiding variety of businesses. Not to mention several companies being used under his name, Sassine’s ompany Equitexx  but in reality everything  owned by the Obeid.

 

Posted by Diane Araga, on March 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM