Obeids discuss coal 3 months before tender announced: ICAC

Paul Obeid, son of Labor powerbroker Eddie, has confirmed his family negotiated a stake in a company interested in a mining the land owned by the Obeid family, months before the government announced it would release the same area to mining.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption established that in June 2008 meetings took place between the head of Tianda Resources, Obeid senior, and the former mining minister Ian Macdonald, to discuss the coal beneath the Obeid family farm in the Bylong Valley.

Yesterday Paul Obeid admitted his family had met with Tianda boss Alan Fang.

Macdonald didn’t announce the tender for exploration licences until September 2008.

Tianda Resources also appears on a note Moses Obeid hand-wrote in mid-2008. The note was dictated by Macdonald and lists the companies that would be invited to bid in the tender.

It is a key document in the inquiry.

The commission has heard an earlier witness, Arlo Selby, signed a document in January 2011 detailing the Obeid family’s 2008 coal deal, worth about $100 million.

Selby, a long time associate of Moses Obeid, said in his statement that Moses's ''whole family had inside information in relation to the valley … the land was literally gold'', the SMH reported.

The statement also claimed the Obeids had decided Tianda Resources’ Alan Fang would act as a front for the Obeid interests during the tender process.

''But due to Mr Fang being publicly linked to then mining minister Ian Macdonald, Moses Obeid said it was 'too risky' so there had to be a change of plan'', Selby's statement said.

Currently ICAC is investigating allegations that Eddie Obeid and his family, along with Macdonald were in the business of corrupting the tender process for exploration licences under the Obeid family farm in the NSW Bylong Valley.

Moses Obeid admitted last week the family were set to earn at least $75 million from the deals.

Paul Obeid yesterday denied the suggestion that Macdonald had designed the Mt Penny tenement over the Obeids' properties so they would benefit.

Instead, Paul Obeid suggested that ICAC investigators might have planted evidence during a search of the family's headquarters in November 2011.

During the raid highly confidential maps that were seen by only a handful of public servants, as well as Ian Macdonald, were seized.

When asked if he had any idea how these maps got into his office, Paul Obeid replied: ''None, blank.''

The commission heard that all of Obeid's sons were employed to further the family's interests.

Appearing today is Macdonald’s close friend Greg Jones, who has been a strong presence during the inquiry via intercepted phone calls.

Meanwhile, Premier Barry O'Farrell has asked the ICAC for advice on whether the government can take action against the companies who currently hold the mining licences.

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