ICAC hears of raids and leaked documents    

A corruption inquiry witness has denied being coached about his evidence by an associate of former New South Wales Labor minister Eddie Obeid The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is investigating allegations Mr Obeid's family purchased farms in the Bylong Valley area because they stood to profit $100 million from inside knowledge about mining licences.  It is alleged the information came from Mr Obeid's colleague, former mining minister Ian Macdonald.

The Obeids are accused of trying to hide their involvement through complex company structures in a level of corruption not seen since the Rum Corps.

Giving evidence about his attempts to broker a deal with a mining company for the Obeid family, former Lehman Brothers banker Paul Gardner Brook said he was "in deal-looking mode" when he was introduced to Eddie Obeid's son Moses in 2008.

The former banker admitted Moses or 'Mo' Obeid confided to him that he had inside information about the tender process.

He said Moses gave him a handwritten list of companies that would bid in the restricted government tender.

The former banker, whose company was issued a coal-exploration licence potentially worth millions of dollars, admitted he knew nothing about mining or coal.

He also denied leaking "top secret" ministerial papers that included a map of coal areas.  When questioned about how he got the papers about a month before they were released, he said they were from either Eddie Obeid's son Moses or a small company called Monaro Coal.  But he said it did not occur to him that the Obeids were getting inside information from the state government or Mr Macdonald.  "They knew people and their lawyers were drafting documentation," he said.  Mr Brook started to sweat and wiped his forehead when he was questioned about his business relationship with Moses Obeid.  Wearing a three-piece suit and polka dot tie, the witness said on one occasion he had a "big night out" with Moses Obeid and described him as "very confident".  He said Moses Obeid told colleagues his father had been in politics for a long time.  The inquiry heard that highly confidential government maps of coal areas were found by investigators when they raided an Obeid family office at Birkenhead Point in Sydney.  Mr Brook, who now lives in Singapore, said Obeid family associate Andrew Kaidbay  gave him a written 'timeline' of various events after he came back to Australia to give evidence to investigators in March.

But he denied the suggestion he was 'coached' about his evidence and claimed he didn't know if the Obeids paid for his lawyer at the private ICAC hearing.

The counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson, said when Moses Obeid is called as a witness, he is expected to say the family was buying up land to prevent mining companies "damaging the beautiful Bylong Valley".

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