By Lynn Smith
BYE BYE AMERICAN PIE
In its last days, Iraq’s US appointed interim administration mysteriously transferred US$500 million to an obscure bank in Lebanon. The loot was quietly removed from Iraq’s Central Bank, placed in boxes then flown by charter jet to Lebanon. Ironically, the cash transfer came the day after George W. Bush’s obscenely expensive inauguration circus in the US during which he pledged to "oppose corrupt, oligarchic regimes".
"IF IT PLEASES YOUR HONOUR, I WOULD LIKE $25 MILLION FOR DOING BUGGER ALL"
William Adams, a direct descendent of Tattersalls’ founder George Adams, is asking the Victorian Supreme Court to approve a payment of $25 million for him and his three fellow Tattersalls trustees David Jones, Raymond Hornsby and Peter Kerr if the company is floated on the Stock Exchange (likely value: $2 billion). Each of these gents currently earns $1 million a year for being a "part time trustee". What actual work do they do?
In a 115 page affidavit handed to the court (if you have nothing to say, make sure you spend a lot of time saying it) it states that the Fab 4 "protect the identity of 2630 secret beneficiaries of George Adams estate, endure intense public scrutiny, use their political connections to influence government policy and make charitable donations to gain the favour of the public, politicians and business partners." Sounds to me like one could satisfy these criteria by living in a big house with high walls, encouraging others to do the same, making a few phone calls, attending the odd black tie dinner and writing the occasional cheque.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE SIX MONTHS SICK LEAVE EACH YEAR?
All you have to do is make it to the upper ranks of the National Australia Bank. Lynne Peacock did it and she’s lookin’ good. Lynne is general manager of business development in the NAB’s European division. She gets 26 weeks sick leave each year. Which means she can take every second week off and still get paid. Hah, maybe that’s because of all the travel she does and her modest pay, I hear you suggest. Well… it only takes 30 minutes to get from anywhere to anywhere in Europe these days. Her salary package is $741,000 p.a. Her contract says she must be given six months notice, she’s in a pension scheme and gets a free car.
WANT TO KNOW WHERE YOUR PRESCHOOL DOLLARS GO?
NOT TO CHILD CARE WORKERS, THAT’S FOR SURE
Child care workers are among the lowest paid in Australia. Yet child care tycoon Eddie Groves is the 4th richest man in Queensland with a personal worth of $190 million.
BIBLE BASHING BOSS DISHES DIRT ON MATE’S SEX LIFE IN ATTEMPT TO AVOID PRISON
The trial of former WorldCom boss Bernard Ebbers began in New York on January 29.
WorldCom filed for the biggest bankruptcy in history in 2002. While good ‘ol boy Bernie continues to teach Bible classes and run Sunday School in the Mississippi Baptist Church, his defense lawyers are introducing the "marital infidelities" of the US government’s star witness (WorldCom’s former finance chief Scott Sullivan) in a shabby attempt to discredit him. Ebbers faces at least 30 years in prison if convicted on the US$11 billion WorldCom accounting fraud charges. Sullivan has already pleaded guilty to fraud and was testifying as part of a plea deal that could result in a reduced sentence.
WHILE GOLDMAN SACHS’ STOCKS SHOW MODEST RISE, TOP EXEC’S INCOMES SHOOT UP 40% TO AUD$38 MILLION
Goldman Sachs top execs Henry Paulson and Lloyd Blankfein were both paid AUD$38 million for their efforts last year. That’s an increase of 40% for Paulson and 46% for Blankfein. Meanwhile, in the real world, Goldman Sachs stocks rose 4.5% last year: a lacklustre effort when compared with the 12 member Amex Broker/Dealer index which gained 15%. Goes to show… income has nothing to do with performance when you’re at the top.
WHAT’S YOUR FEE FOR HELPING A MATE?
AT THE BIG END OF TOWN IT’S $26 MILLION!
A former director of Tyco International Frank Walsh testified in a US court in early February that he received US$20 million (AUD$26 million) as a finder’s fee for helping his mate Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski purchase the CIT Group in 2001. Walsh testified that Kozlowski asked him to keep the payment a secret. Tyco shareholders were not informed. Kozlowski and former finance chief Mark Swartz face 31 charges of stock fraud, falsifying business records, grand larceny and conspiracy. Walsh (who pleaded guilty in 2002 to stock fraud) has since paid the money back.