Obeid was Offset Alpine owner

The most corrupt politician in the history of NSW, former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, has been revealed as the person behind the deal to buy Offset Alpine from late media mogul Kerry Packer in 1992.

The deal was done just 18 months before the company mysteriously burned to the ground, resulting in major windfall for its shareholders, and allegedly $1m for Obeid.

According to SMH journalist Kate McClymont, Obeid put the Offset Alpine deal together, with controversial stockbroker Rene Rivkin – who later killed himself – fronting the $15m purchase price.

By the time the plant was destroyed by a mysterious fire on Christmas Eve 1993 it had been heavily insured, resulting in a $53.2m payout as the insurance was new for old. The share price of Offset Alpine skyrocketed, leaving all the new shareholders in the money.

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McClymont says Obeid had failed to pay for his initial share of the business, yet still pressed his partners Rivkin and fellow Labor powerboker Graham Richardson for a share of the payout.

A transfer of $1m was then made from Richardson’s secret Swiss EBC Zurich bank account via the Arab Bank in New York to the Dora branch of the Arab Bank in Beirut into the account of a close Obeid family friend. McClymont claims this was Obeid’s share of the insurance payout.

A few weeks after the final payout from the insurance claim had been made Obeid’s son Paul resigned from the board of Offset Alpine, where he had been installed the since the purchase to protect the family’s interests.

The Offset Alpine fire was one of the most notorious events in the history of the Australian printing industry, with Rivkin and a host of associates including his driver, some celebrity friends, and now it seems Eddie Obeid, all making vast profits from the fire and subsequent insurance payout.

Obeid was initially going to buy Offset Alpine with Helena Carr, wife of Bob Carr, as one of the three partners who submitted an initial $16m bid. Bob Carr went on to be NSW premier for ten years, presiding over a disastrous period which saw the State slide from first to last in economic growth, with transport and health run into the ground, while Carr appointed Eddie Obeid as a cabinet minister.

Obeid has had a string of corruption findings made against him since he left State parliament in 2011, and is currently fighting the ATO, which has presented his family with a $9m tax bill.

ProPrint would like to stress that the current owner of Offset Alpine, IPMG, has nothing whatsoever to do with the dark goings on of 20 years ago, and has taken the company to its pre-eminent position in print through strictly conventional business practices.

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