Lawyer tells ICAC inquiry his signature was forged

A corruption inquiry has been told a lawyer for the family of former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid had his signature forged on documents.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry has heard the Obeid family's former lawyer, Mario Sindone, was involved in negotiating for a share of a mining company set to win a government tender.

But he said someone must have "forged his signature" on trust documents that were used to disguise the Obeids' interests in the company.

Mr Obeid and his associates are accused of standing 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.

Earlier, Robert Macaulay, the lawyer for witness Andrew Kaidbay, was reprimanded for blocking a fire escape on Wednesday to stop reporters approaching his client.

Counsel-assisting Geoffrey Watson told the inquiry Australia has "freedom of the press" and stopping reporters doing their job was not acceptable.

He said he would normally ask Commissioner David Ipp to withdraw the lawyer's leave to appear at the inquiry, but Mr Watson said he had not done that because it would take up too much time.

"Could I put it on notice that we would not expect lawyers granted leave to appear...

to see that as a means of inhibiting not only press access to a witness, but anyone's access to a fire escape," Mr Watson said.

Mr Kaidbay, a Sydney mortgage broker, left the building yesterday after giving evidence about his relationship with Mr Obeid's family.

The inquiry heard Mr Kaidbay was acting as a frontman for them when he was awarded a coal mining licence for the property Yarrawa.

But when asked about his coal mining experience, he said he had none, apart from seeing it on television.

The inquiry has also heard he gave false evidence at a private hearing in March to protect Mr Obeid's son Moses.

It is believed Mr Kaidbay left the building today through an underground car park.

Eddie Obeid is yet to give evidence at the inquiry, which is expected to break on December 13 and resume at the end of January.

He has been suspended from the Labor Party during the inquiry but has vowed to clear his name.

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