28 Jun 2016

Former NSW minister found guilty of misconduct

6:41 pm on 28 June 2016

Former NSW Labor minister Eddie Obeid has been found guilty of misconduct in public office by Australia's Supreme Court.

The charge related to his lobbying of a senior maritime official over cafe leases at Sydney's Circular Quay when he was a member of the NSW Upper House.

Obeid, 72, failed to disclose he and his family had a financial interest in the cafes.

Eddie Obeid

Eddie Obeid Photo: supplied

During the trial, the Supreme Court in Sydney heard Obeid made representations between August and November 2007 to NSW Maritime Authority deputy chief executive Steve Dunn over the leases, with the intention of seeking a beneficial outcome.

The crown said Obeid knew Mr Dunn from when he was fisheries minister and Mr Dunn was director-general of NSW Fisheries.

Obeid served as fisheries and mineral resources minister from 1999 to 2003 and was not a minister at the time of the offences.

Prosecutors claimed Obeid duped Mr Dunn into believing he was acting on behalf of constituents, when he and his family were receiving 90 percent of the profits from the businesses.

The jury retired late on Monday and returned the guilty verdict less than 24 hours later.

When asked about the outcome, Obeid said he had no comment.

It is not known whether Obeid will appeal against the guilty verdict.

The court heard the Obeid Family Trust Number 2 had an interest in the leases for Cafe Sorentino and Quay Eatery, which were operated by Circular Quay Restaurants Pty Ltd (CQR).

The Circular Quay leases expired in August 2005 but lessees were "holding over" while negotiations on their future continued, the court heard.


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