Queensland Mining identity Harold Shand gave $60 000 to Cabinet minister Gordon Nuttall, who requested cash to buy several houses, a jury has been told.
The 59-year-old Shand attended his first day in Brisbane District Court today and entered a plea of not guilty.
He is on trial, charged with making a corrupt payment to Nuttall in 2002 when Nuttall was a Minister with the Beattie government.
He allegedly expected Nuttall to use his influence within the Beattie government to “show favour” towards the company’s coalmine, where Shand was the CEO.
The court heard the money was given to Nuttall about two months after the two shared lunch with another businessman, Jim Gorman, at Brisbane’s Breakfast Creek Wharf restaurant.
A solicitor was also at the restaurant with the men, and took notes of the conversation.
"He [Nuttall] hit up Gorman for some money," Crown prosecutor Ross Martin, SC, said in his opening to the jury.
"Nuttall wanted $1 million to buy a number of houses and to pay for his own."
Gorman said in his evidence that the request from Nuttall had annoyed him.
"I wasn’t very happy about it. I didn’t go along to be harassed for cash," he said.
Gorman said he had told his colleague, Mr Shand, about Nuttall’s request and that it was not the first time he had asked for money.
He told the court that Nuttall, who was then a backbencher, visited Gorman’s mining venture near Rockhampton and asked for “help with his mortgage.
"He asked me if I could help him. He wanted $200,000 to $300,000," Gorman said.
Gorman said he did not answer Nuttall’s question, and the same day, during dinner where Shand was present, Nuttall repeated his request.
When asked if he told Shand about Nuttall’s request, Gorman said he believed he had.
"I would have roughly mentioned just what he said," he said.
The court heard that in 2006 Shand denied he had any financial agreements with Nuttall, when questioned by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, but he was interviewed again the following year and said he remembered dealing with a $60 000 bank cheque from the mining company’s accounts which had come out of Gorman’s money.
He told the Commission he did not know details as to why the money was not paid and didn’t believe the sum would benefit Nuttall.
Gorman said he could not explain why the cheque had ended up in Nuttall’s bank account.
The jury was told that although they may have heard or read that Nuttall had been convicted of corruption charges, they could not use that evidence against Shand.
The trial continues tomorrow.
Image: The Courier Mail