Monday, 2 June 2014

That elusive Monaco donor to Coalition coffers may not be all that mysterious after all


The Canberra Times 2 June 2014:

A short limousine ride from the famous Monte Carlo casino, the Les Caravelles building enjoys a dress circle position overlooking Port Hercules - a popular place for the world's mega-rich to park their super yachts when visiting the Cote d'Azur.
According to documents filed with the Australian Electoral Commission, it is also the mailing address for Akira Investments Ltd, a generous donor to the Free Enterprise Foundation, a mysterious entity closely linked to the Liberal and National parties.
Given the foundation has no phone number and no website, just how a company domiciled in Monaco came to donate $200,000 last financial year - an extraordinarily large donation by Australian standards - is intriguing enough.
But just who is behind Akira Investments is also shrouded in mystery. Regulatory authorities in Monaco say there is no record of its existence. Nor does it appear in Australian company records.
According to the Australian Electoral Commission, Akira Investments has failed to lodge a political donation disclosure form, as required by law.
But an AEC spokesman said the commission is powerless to chase the company as the act governing its operations does not have ''international jurisdiction''.
Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane did not respond to a request to discuss the donation to the foundation, which is classified as an ''associated entity'' of the Liberal and National parties for election funding purposes.
The foundation's long-serving trustee, Canberra accountant Tony Bandle, did not return Fairfax Media's call or an email.
Mr Bandle was recently grilled at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption about whether the foundation was used to channel funds from banned donors back to the NSW Liberals….

Sounds all very mysterious doesn’t it? Until one lets one’s fingers do the walking across a PC keyboard.

Then a possible prime suspect immediately comes to light.

Akira Investments Ltd of London, Monaco, New York and Miami – an international super yacht brokerage company originally registered in London U.K. in 1975.

Its Monaco CEO Jonathan Beckett regularly visits Australia:

Snapshot from Ocean_Jonathan_Beckett.pdf at www.burgessyachts.com

Ocean Magazine 26 November 2013:


While Jonathan Beckett, Chief Executive of Burgess, was recently in Australia and New Zealand for a whirlwind tour, he spoke to Ocean about the purpose of such visits and the significance of the region to Burgess.
Q: How many times a year do you travel to this region and how important are these visits?
I travel to Australia and New Zealand between one and four times a year. This has been a very good and interesting niche market for us and one that I have personally worked hard at securing relationships and deals. I don’t think we could have succeeded in this market if we did not travel here regularly to meet with our customers. These visits are therefore fundamental to our success in the region.

Perhaps the mainstream media might like to contact this company and inquire about any political donations it may have made in the past.

UPDATE

Boilermaker Bill points out that very wealthy Sutton Forest NSW sometime resident, Reg Grundy, may have a connection with Akira Investments Ltd as the address given for this company, by the associated entity Free Enterprise Foundation on its political donation disclosure form, matches that of one of Grundy's own companies:


Grundy has a further connection with Akira Investments according to Bill in that he appears to have either leased or sold his super yacht Boadicea through this yacht brokerage company.

FURTHER UPDATE

ABC News 2 June 2014 approx 6.40pm:

Television pioneer Reg Grundy has confirmed he made a $200,000 donation to the Free Enterprise Foundation, a Liberal Party-linked entity that has been scrutinised by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, via a family-owned business.
Until now the source of the donation, one of the largest to be channelled to the Liberal Party through the Foundation, has remained a mystery.
The ABC can also reveal that federal Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane directed the Mr Grundy and his wife Joy to make the donation to the Free Enterprise Foundation, rather than directly to the party, to maintain their privacy.
The payment was made via Akira Investments Ltd, which is owned by the Grundys.
In a statement, Akira director Jo Cullen-Cronshaw said: "I made enquiries of Mr Brian Loughnane and was advised by him that the best way to maintain their privacy would be to make the donation through the Free Enterprise Foundation".
"As they are extremely private individuals they always prefer that any donation they make, political or philanthropic, remains anonymous."
Mr Loughnane declined to confirm making those instructions to the Grundys, but said all Liberal Party fundraising complied with the law and met all disclosure requirements.
The 2013 BRW Rich list estimated Grundy's fortune at $760 million.
The $200,000 donation from Akira Investments was listed by the Foundation among its donor disclosure filings to the Australian Electoral Commission for the year 2012-13.
Akira has failed to lodge a political disclosure donation form to the Commission as required by law. However the AEC is powerless to chase it for disclosures, as it has no international jurisdiction.
The Australian Tax Office would not confirm if it would investigate Akira Investments Ltd.
In a statement, the ATO indicated that any investigation into donations to political parties would be limited to reviewing any claims for tax deductions.
The $200,000 donation stands among the largest single amounts gifted to the Free Enterprise Foundation, described  as "a tool for the Liberal Party" by Geoffrey Watson SC, Counsel Assisting ICAC, during his opening address on April 28....

1 comment:

John Fraser said...

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Fairfax Media with all its resources could not find out who Akira Investments is.

CLARENCEGIRL does !

CLARENCEGIRL wins again !