Monday, 7 October 2013

Mayor circles wagons around 2013 Clarence Valley Ambassador Wal King

Clarence Valley Council’s choice of honorary Clarence Valley Ambassador 2013 has become somewhat problematic and, Mayor Williamson clings to an assurance from an unidentified source that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission is unaware of any new incidents. However, the Commission is not responsible for investigating recent allegations.

The situation so far.......

Honorary Doctor of Science (UNSW) Wallace Macarthur King AO retires as Leighton Holdings CEO on 31 December 2010.

On 1 January 2011 he became a consultant to Leighton Holdings.

Between 1998-9 and 2007-8 companies within the Leighton Group donate a total of 838,000 to the Federal Liberal and National parties and, a total of $643,400 to Federal Labor between 1998-9 and 2009-10.

This year Mayor Richie Williamson bestowed the Honour of Clarence Valley Ambassador on Wal King.
“Wal King grew up on a dairy farm in Copmanhurst, went to Grafton High School and eventually became CEO of Leighton Holdings.” said Mayor Richie Williamson
In receiving the honour Wal King said “I’ve always had a belief that if you remain true to your values and have the right people you will get your results. That’s something I’ve applied all the way  through my career and I’m still of the view that you need to set a framework for people. ”
Mayor Richie went on to state “Wal has a long list of achievements and one benefit of the Ambassador Award is to show the Clarence’s talented young people that dedication and hardwork opens up opportunities for everyone”....

Mayor Richie Williamson with Clarence Valley Ambassador Wal King
Clarence Valley Review 7 August 2013

Australian Financial Review 26 September 2013:

Former Leighton Holdings chief executive Wal King has been approached by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull about joining the Coalition’s NBN Co board.
The approach is understood to have been made before the federal election.
Mr Turnbull is looking for board members with experience rolling out construction projects and telecommunications infrastructure.

The Sydney Morning Herald 3 October 2013:

Corruption and cover-ups in Leighton Holdings' international construction empire were rife and known to top company executives and directors, according to internal company files.
Those in the know included the Australian construction giant's chief executive at the time, Wal King, and his short-term successor David Stewart.
In revelations that will cause international embarrassment for Australia and raise questions about the role of the nation's corporate watchdog, the files expose plans to pay alleged multimillion-dollar kickbacks in Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere, along with other serious corporate misconduct....

The Sydney Morning Herald 4 October 2013:

A Fairfax Media investigation can also reveal a small number of senior Leighton staff were so concerned by a $6 million consultancy awarded to Mr King upon his 2011 departure that external legal advice was sought to determine if it might have breached Australian corporate laws that apply to retirement benefits.
The legal advice was sought in July 2011 after it was discovered that the terms of the consultancy agreement organised before Mr King's departure meant he would be able to invoice Leighton for $6 million in fees over three years without having to provide any services.

The Australian 4 October 2013:

FORMER Leighton Holdings chief executive Wal King has written to Fairfax Media to demand it publishes page one apologies across The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, to mitigate damages for reports alleging Mr King approved the payment of a bribe in a deal in Iraq.
The letter from Mr King's lawyers Atanaskovic Hartnell is the first formal response by the high-profile executive to the string of articles published by Fairfax yesterday and today.
Fairfax reported yesterday that it had obtained hundreds of confidential Leighton documents, including a handwritten note allegedly written by then-acting chief executive David Stewart in November 2010 that in turn alleged his predecessor Mr King had approved $42 million in kickbacks to a firm in Monaco nominated by Iraqi officials for a $750m oil pipeline contract.....
The matters are being currently investigated by the Australian Federal Police, which negates the need for any ASIC action at this stage.

The Australian 4 October 2013:

Mr King yesterday conceded that reports published by Fairfax Media that bribery, corruption and cover-ups at the company's international empire were known to Mr King and others -- claims he denied -- had damaged his chances of an NBN Co board position. "I don't think the NBN is going to happen now, do you?" Mr King said.

The Daily Examiner Page Three 4 October 2013:

Speaking yesterday, Cr Williamson said as yet there was no impact on Mr King's role as ambassador.
"I've just heard that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is unaware of any new incidents or instances, so at this stage there is no change in plans at all," he said.

Herald Sun 5 October 2013:

Leighton says it is cooperating with Federal Police who are investigating the matter.
The corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has said it was not responsible for investigating the claims.


The Sydney Morning Herald 10 October 2013:

As the bribery scandal engulfing construction firm Leighton Holdings continues, it can be revealed that a public inquiry previously found former executive Wal King was not of good repute, ''having regard to character, honesty and integrity''.
In 1994 Leighton Holdings had joined forces with US gambling firm Showboat to win the tender for the new Sydney casino. But a public inquiry into the probity of the Showboat group proved damaging for Mr King, who was found not to be of good repute. Two Leighton companies were also found to be ''not of good repute, having regard to honesty and integrity''.
The final report of the NSW government's Casino Control Authority Inquiry has been obtained by Fairfax Media. The inquiry was headed by Murray Tobias, QC.
The inquiry found Mr King and fellow Leighton executive Vyril Vella ''were involved with and had knowledge of'' the illegal practice of paying unsuccessful tender fees. This involved collusion between construction companies so winning tenders paid fees to the losers. These payments were then billed to the client with false invoices.
In his final report, Mr Tobias said he was ''not entirely satisfied that he [Mr King] accepts even now that the practice of false invoices was dishonest''.
Mr Tobias also referred to cross-examination of Mr King during the course of the inquiry. Referring to false invoices, Mr King was asked: ''And a fair-minded observer may take the view that you were doing it that way in order to hide something that you regarded as wrong?''
Mr King replied: ''Well, with the benefit of hindsight, that interpretation can be put upon it, and I accept that as maybe one interpretation.''
He also concluded Mr King ''did not, apparently, have the strength of character to identify the problem at an earlier point of time''.
Nor did Mr King concede it was dishonest of Leighton Contractors to falsify company records. Instead, the Leighton chief observed there was ''a body of opinion out there that says it's shady''.....

No comments: