Archive for the ‘PEOPLE’ Category


Tuesday, May 1st, 2012


Mr Palmer said the companies had signed a memorandum of understanding to build the cruise liner in China, with the ship’s maiden voyage from England to North America scheduled for late 2016.

“It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,” Mr Palmer said.

Mr Palmer said the rebuild was a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who constructed the original Titanic.

The Titanic.The Titanic. Photo: AP

“These people produced work that is still marvelled at more than 100 years later and we want that spirit to go on for another 100 years,” he said.

The Titanic was commissioned by the company White Star Line and was the world’s largest liner, measuring nearly 270 metres long, 53 metres high and weighing approximately 40,000 tonnes.

It sank in 1912, killing more than 1500 passengers and crew.

Asked today if the Titanic II could sink, Mr Palmer told reporters: “Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it.

He added: “It is going to be designed so it won’t sink.

“It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen.”

A spokesman for Mr Palmer said the cost of the project was unknown.

“A final budget hasn’t been set and I don’t think he’ll reveal the price to be honest,” the spokesman said.

He said the design of the new Titanic would be as close to the original as possible but would have “state of the art engineering” and would run on diesel rather than coal power.

“The technology will be 100 years improved,” the spokesman said.

Mr Palmer said a historical research team was involved in the design of the Titanic II, which would have the same dimensions as its predecessor, with 840 rooms and nine decks.

The only differences would be found below the water line, he said, and would include a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and diesel generation, and an enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for improved manoeuvrability.

“Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins,” Mr Palmer said.

He said the new ship would also include an exhibition room, located in the space of the old coal boilers, which will showcase Queensland and its abundance of opportunities to international passengers.

The Chinese navy has been invited to escort the Titanic II on its maiden voyage across the northern hemisphere from England to New York, he said.

Mr Palmer owns the Sunshine Coast’s Coolum Golf and Spa Resort, and the Gold Coast’s Robina Woods and Colonial golf courses.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, February 20th, 2012

This week will get off to a slower start, with the US market being closed for Presidents’ Day on Monday. However, the FX markets are open, and with the next repayment deadline for Greece looming on the horizon, there is plenty of room for movement.

As traders, this has been on the horizon for a while, and as such, we feel the market is a little headline “punch drunk” but any material deterioration in the Greek situation may prompt a sharp reaction.

As a result, we continue to hold our Euro/Swiss position, which remains in good profit. In terms of other positions, our holdings in the US oil fund ETF are performing well and we will be looking to adjust the risk management on this trade. Additionally, we have entered into a seasonal position on Soy Bean oil too. Our sugar trade resulted was stopped out for a small loss.

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Andrew Baxter

As featured in...


Saturday, February 4th, 2012

The Rinehart story in pics

FOR iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest, Gina Rinehart’s move this week to become Fairfax’s largest shareholder is nothing if not serendipitous. For the mega-wealthy, control of Australia’s most influential newspaper group, Fairfax, is like an insurance policy against political decisions that run against their commercial interests.

Rinehart has paid less than $200 million for this insurance and while she probably will have to pay more, the investment could yield a hefty return.

According to well-placed sources Rinehart was not the only candidate running the ruler over Fairfax – Forrest and his mate Kerry Stokes were sniffing around as well.

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Gina Rinehart

Over on the east coast of Australia another astute investor, Peter Hall from Hunter Hall, was also taking a very keen interest in Fairfax.

His fund was not looking for a big stake but he was prepared to take a $10 million punt that either Rinehart or Forrest would.

He thought Fairfax stock was undervalued late last year but figured he had an insurance policy if Fairfax’s prospects went pear-shaped. Hall’s own insurance policy – the emergence of a billionaire seeking influence – paid off.

Just in time, too. Hall was getting more concerned about the media group’s advertising and readership numbers in December and January. Hall sold his shares in Fairfax to Rinehart this week.

Kerry Stokes may have also had an agenda. Sure, influence would have played a significant part in the appeal of Fairfax and he is a big holder of iron ore assets. But he has also made plenty of money out of media over the past 30 years and has other properties – such as the Seven television network and West Australian Newspapers (WAN) – which could have dovetailed nicely with the country’s largest independent news publisher.

For Rinehart and for Forrest the rationale is simple. Invest several hundred million to gain control of Fairfax, and wrest the political agenda from the government.

In Rinehart’s case this would involve using the editorial influence of Fairfax to get rid of Labor and its expensive (to her) taxes – the minerals resource rent tax and the carbon tax – an outcome that could ultimately save billions.

The more politically agnostic Forrest might have been happy to leave the regime but lose its troublesome policies.

The roughly $200 million spent on Fairfax shares could be a downpayment on saving Rinehart and the other resource barons a multiple of this figure in future tax.

Remember, in the hard world of finance, a $100 million annual saving in tax is the same as adding $1 billion to the value of your business. The splendid kicker for Forrest is that he gets all the benefits of Rinehart’s insurance cover without having to pay for the premium or the excess.

But this may not be a fool-proof plan because taking control of the editorial agenda is not necessarily that easy. Rinehart will first have to acquire enough shares to control the board. The 12.6 per cent she has now probably won’t do.

The investment banking strategy experts contend Rinehart will now need to increase her interests to a whisker under 20 per cent – the threshold set by the corporations law, beyond which a full takeover bid for all shares must be made.

From this point, Rinehart would probably still fall short of the necessary shareholding needed to take control of the board and the company. Once the 20 per cent is reached she will be able to use the corporations law to creep upwards at the rate of 3 per cent every six months.

Within a year she will be able to reach a shareholding of almost 26 per cent without the need to make a takeover – the dynamics of power on the Fairfax board would have her in a strong position of influence.

Ironically the template for this corporate manoeuvre was used by Stokes to get his tentacles around West Australian Newspapers.

Back in 2008, Stokes took control of WAN from the humble shareholding of 22.3 per cent, having crept up the register from just over 19 per cent. It’s slower than a takeover – you can only buy 3 per cent every six months – but cheaper.

It is a matter of law that control is deemed to have passed once a shareholder gets 30 per cent (in the absence of another, larger shareholder.)

Thus, for Rinehart, waiting just one year from now would see her take effective control of Fairfax and the highly regarded editorial integrity of trust, built up over 150 years, could be sacrificed for a few hundred million pieces of gold.

To do this, she would need to inject a few user-friendly editors into the Fairfax newspapers including, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, but this could all be done well in time to influence the course of the next election.

Rinehart has already had some success in achieving influence through the acquisition of 10 per cent of Ten Network last year.

Not only was she readily granted a board seat but the politically like-minded News Corp journalist, Andrew Bolt, was given his own program, some say through Rinehart’s influence.

Bolt’s career ascension also has been helped by Rinehart’s long-time friend and media player and advertising tsar, John Singleton.

Bolt’s voice is also heard on 2GB, the Sydney radio station that is majority-owned by Singleton and home to two of the country’s most strident talk-back hosts, Alan Jones and Ray Hadley.

Singleton, who shares Rinehart’s views on mining and taxes, recently told Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine: ”We (Singleton and Rinehart) have been able to overtly and covertly attack governments … Because we have people employed by us like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, who agree with her thinking about the development of our resources, we act in concert in that way.”

Singleton told Weekend Business yesterday Rinehart would be a great addition to the Fairfax board.

”She is a lot smarter than people like (former chief executive) Fred Hilmer and crooks like (former major shareholder) Conrad Black.” Singleton, who is also a former Fairfax director, claims another, Sir Zelman Cowen, didn’t know what EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) stood for.

Singleton says Rinehart doesn’t need the money or the influence but in his opinion she will be active in having her say at board level about the appointment of editors.

”She is frustrated at the negative way Australia is portrayed (by the media) and the fact that mining is portrayed as the big bad wolf and not the saviour … I reckon she wants to have a say but doesn’t make comments in the media because she is not extroverted … it’s not her style.

”I will say to her when I see her, ‘Good on you kid, your father would be proud of you’.”

But he agrees that a full takeover is not on the cards.

To acquire more than the amount necessary for control would be profligate.

Rinehart needs to play the Goldilocks card – not too much and not too little, but just right.

Analysts agree that suggestions Rinehart will make a full takeover bid for Fairfax are strategically wide of the mark.

Taking into account the cost of mounting a full takeover offer and the cost of the debt inside the company the price tag would be near $3.8 billion. That is a hefty price for insurance – the equivalent of paying the premium for a teenager to drive a Rolls-Royce.

It also assumes that Rinehart’s pockets are bottomless.

She has now taken the mantle of Australia’s richest person and there are suggestions that her worth could be great as $20 billion.

But the value of her assets is entirely different to her access to cash flow and the former must be considered a guesstimate. Suggestions that her fortune could be on track to $100 billion appear to have been plucked out of the ether.

Such talk about her personal life and wealth is an anathema to Rinehart. She is intensely private and opens the corporate veil to no one. One example is her involvement in a desperate legal struggle to suppress the details of the acrimonious court battle she is engaged in with her children.

(Interestingly, she is also engaged in a legal battle with Fairfax and other media organisations on suppression of the court case.)

It is only via the relationship she has with her listed partner, Rio Tinto, that the outside world gets a sneak look at aspects of her financial spreadsheet.

At its most general we understand that her half of the yearly revenue from iron ore project Hope Downs produces royalties of about $2 billion a year, which should expand to an additional $600 million to $700 million, based on today’s price of iron ore.

On top of this the primary operating company earns about $100 million a year from her half share in the Hancock and Wright partnership – a legacy from her father’s 1960s foray into the iron-ore-rich Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The estimate of Rinehart’s wealth has been revised over the past couple of weeks on the back of a 15 per cent investment in the Roy Hill development – giving it a value on paper of $10 billion.

But this project is still in its early stages and will need plenty of capital expenditure in both railway and port facilities.

There are two schools of thought on whether she will seek to use her capital to develop this new iron ore prospect or whether she will scope out a buyer.

If Rinehart wants to develop this and ”live the dream” of Lang Hancock, then there would be less room for capital to be sidelined for the likes of a full takeover of Fairfax.

As immense as her current loyalty payments are they are also subject to variations based on the price of iron ore, which is at present at near-historical highs.

Fairfax shares have now fallen back below Rinehart’s recent 81¢ buying spree price, which is a clear suggestion the market is not expecting a full takeover.

The additional wrinkle in the Rinehart financing story is in the battle being waged over control of a large chunk of the family’s fortune.

Rinehart’s three oldest children, John Langley Hancock, Bianca Hope Rinehart and Hope Rinehart Welker, are trying to remove her as the trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock trust, set up by their late grandfather Lang Hancock. They are alleging ”serious misconduct”.

Regardless of the outcome Rinehart will remain an extremely wealthy woman – one who Singleton contends can always get an audience with any politician. But then so can Andrew Forrest and Clive Palmer.

But the introduction of the mineral resource rent tax is clear evidence that the rich can get the ear of Canberra but not necessarily change policy, as Forrest himself discovered.

The ability to influence a large media organisation is a far better political attention grabber.

If Rinehart increases her investment in Fairfax sufficiently to take control of the board, the potential returns for her interests in mining could be monumental.

It’s certainly a better bet than standing on the tray of a flat-bed ute holding a loudspeaker.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Cast in iron: Yes- the millions turned to billions

Leonie Lamont February 4, 2012

It was 20 years ago that the mining magnate Lang Hancock’s widow, Rose, summoned journalists to the gate of her flamboyant mansion, and dispensed copies of her recently departed husband’s will.

It was 1992, the year both Hancock’s daughter, Gina Rinehart, and Rose first appeared on the BRW Rich List. Lang Hancock’s $150 million fortune had been divied up, each woman listed with a fortune of $75 million, in recognition of the will’s 50:50 split.

There were decade-long legal battles, the bankrupting of the estate and paying down debts for business follies. But importantly the iron ore royalty ”rivers of gold” paid by Hamersley Iron (now Rio Tinto) to Hancock Prospecting were preserved in corporate structures for Mrs Rinehart and her children. The deal struck in 1962 involves a continuing royalty valued at 2.5 per cent of ore mined from many of Rio’s West Australian mines.

Given today’s iron ore price, that royalty stream now accounts for about $100 million a year.

In 20 years, Mrs Rinehart has taken her $75 million inheritance to her fortune as Australia’s richest citizen. The Forbes Asia rich list named her this week as the wealthiest woman in Asia, worth $16.88 billion. Other calculations, based on iron ore prices of US$140 a tonne last week, value her at $20 billion.

She first cracked BRW magazine’s billionaires list in 2006, when her fortune sprang from $900 million to $1.8 billion. The upward trajectory was evident in 2005 when two wealth generating forces took off.

Iron ore prices jumped by 70 per cent, and her royalties rose accordingly. But the greatest source of her wealth lay in the Pilbara mining project Hope Downs, named after her mother, Hope.

After her South African partner Kumba Resources was taken over, she bought out its 49 per cent stake in what was one of WA’s biggest and richest iron ore deposits. At the time, Hope Downs accounted for half her wealth, being valued at $472 million.

Hope Downs propelled her into the billionaire ranks, and after taking Rio Tinto on board as joint partner, by 2007 Hope Downs was exporting ore. It has been estimated that when Hope Downs reaches full production of 45 million tonnes annually, Mrs Rinehart will receive an income stream of $40 million … a week.

By 2014, her second iron ore mine, Roy Hill, is due to start exporting. Even bigger than Hope Downs, the $7 billion mine is being developed with the Korean steel maker Posco, and it was the sale of a stake to Posco that helped double Mrs Rinehart’s fortune this year.

The doubling is a pattern. Last year, BRW shows her wealth also more than doubled, from $4.75 billion to $10.31 billion.

Going back 40 years, one can find the seeds to another source of this wealth – Hancock’s close friendship with the long-time Nationals premier of Queensland Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The Hancock empire took early stakes in Queensland coal leases, with grand plans for rail lines laden with coal trains spanning the north.

Last year, Mrs Rinehart parlayed some of those assets, in Queensland’s land-locked Galilee Basin, into a $1.3 billion sale to GVK, the privately owned conglomerate of the Indian billionaire G.V. Krishna Reddy. Mrs Rinehart retains a minority share in that deal, and GVK has planned for a $10 billion outlay on the first phase, which includes a 500-kilometre rail as well as new port facilities in which Hancock interests will have a serious stake.

To date, her Midas touch with mining has not been translated into profits in her forays into Australian media assets – Ten Network Holdings and Fairfax Media, which publishes the Herald.

Received & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, August 25th, 2011

BHP suggests caution on hopes

for new mines

By William MacNamara

marius kloppers

The chief executive of BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner, warned that the market was overestimating the ability of the industry to bring on new mines and relieve high metals prices.

Speaking as he unveiled strong full-year results, Marius Kloppers, chief executive of BHP, said that rising production costs and financing diffulties were leading to delays at new projects and threatening miners’ profit margins.

“Please look at the supply scenario again. In our view, across our suite of commodities, the supply situation is still being overestimated.”

His comments come amid a sharp derating of the sector this year, even as miners have reported record-breaking earnings. Some analysts say the derating reflects bearish forecasts on global industrial demand and overly optimistic expectations over how quickly new supply will come on line as big and small miners work to deliver a wave of new mines from 2014.

Mr Kloppers said these trends would “on balance, over time” be a good thing for BHP because supply-side pressures would support today’s high prices for metals.

“Yes, we understand that cost inflation is coming; yes, we understand that some people’s perception in some parts of the market is of a softer demand scenario,” Mr Kloppers said.

Earlier this month Tom Albanese, Rio Tinto’s chief executive, also highlighted the challenges faced by miners of bringing on new supply.

Gayle Berry, a base metals analyst at Barclays Capital, said of the outlook for copper supply: “The mine-supply side of the market is extremely weak. There are certainly new projects on the horizon, but the timing and realisation of those coming to the market is questionable.”

BHP plans to spend $80bn over the five years to 2015 to build new mines and expand old mines. Like its peers, BHP is channelling its large cash flows into project development. However, BHP said on Wednesday that higher material, labour and other costs had reduced the miner’s underlying earnings before interest and tax by $1.2bn, compared to a total of $32bn.

The miner on Wednesday reported a 60 per cent rise in pre-tax profits from $19.6bn to $31.3bn in its fiscal year ending in June. BHP attributed the results to “another strong year of growth in Chinese crude steel production”, adding that it expected robust demand in the short and medium term for commodities.

BHP’s earnings per share rose to 426.9 cents from 227.8 cents. Revenues rose to $71.7bn from $52.7bn.

The miner raised its final dividend by 22 per cent to 55 cents, carrying the annual dividend to $1.01 per share, but did not start a new share buy-back programme after completing its $10bn buy-back in June.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

I’m not stepping down

because of ASIC:

Says Andrew Forrest

June 1, 2011 – 5:39PM
A difficult position ... mining magnate Andrew Forrest.Mining magnate Andrew Forrest wants to focus on philanthropic activities. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Andrew Forrest denies his departure as Fortescue Metals Group’s chief executive is a move to head off a ban by the corporate regulator.

Australia’s third richest man says he will retire as chief executive and become chairman, stepping back from the day-to-day running of the iron ore miner.

The company’s shares shot up to an almost three-month high after the announcement, gaining 17 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to close at $6.69 on a day the broader market was flat.

Mr Forrest said he’d never felt more confident about the prospects of the company that had grown from an explorer to Australia’s third force in iron ore production, behind BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

Chief operating officer Nev Power will replace Mr Forrest as CEO, while current chairman Herb Elliot will step aside to become deputy non-executive chairman and lead independent director.

In February, the Federal Court ruled against Fortescue and Mr Forrest over misleading claims on deals with Chinese firms. He faces a ban from acting as a company director and heavy fines, but is appealing.

‘‘We manage the company for what is, not what might be,’’ he told reporters today. ‘‘I’ve made no secret that I’ve been spending up to 50 per cent of my time on philanthropic endeavours.

‘‘I think the responsibility for a chief executive … when you’re spending that much time, you need to step down as chief executive, appoint someone who can really do that job better than you … that’s exactly what I’m doing.’’

ASIC action not the only factor

Pengana Capital portfolio manager Tim Schroeders said he believed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s court action against Mr Forrest was relevant to the departure, but wasn’t the only factor.

‘‘It’s looming in the future and makes sense, but Andrew has been positioning the company regardless for him to have a less hands-on influence,’’ he said. ‘‘The nature of the business is it has transformed from an exploration developer to a producer. With that those risks change and the required expertise changes as well.’’

Mr Power is a former head of engineering company Thiess in Australia and has held senior executive positions within Smorgon Steel and in the mining industry.

He said Mr Forrest would continue to be an important part of Fortescue as chairman, but a team of people were driving the company forward.

‘‘We are in the process of expanding this organisation into one of the great companies of the world,’’ he told reporters. ‘‘I will be looking to lean on Andrew for those things he does extremely well, freeing Andrew up to do those things he’s been looking to do and also to maintain very strong contact with the company.’’

He said that would include negotiations with the Yindjibarndi indigenous group, which reached a stalemate in April about the mining giant’s plans to build a new iron ore mine in the Pilbara.

Mr Forrest intends to focus on philanthropic activities, particularly in the area of indigenous disadvantage.

Tripling iron ore output

The company also announced today it had brought forward plans to triple its iron ore production target by up to 12 months, now hoping to reach 155 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2013.

‘‘We’ve already silenced the critics,’’ Mr Power said. ‘‘We’ve done anything we said we were going to do.

‘‘We’ve done it faster, more efficiently than anyone else has done it.

‘‘We’re waiting for the market to understand that in its fullness and respond completely.’’


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Former CEO sues gold firm for $1m

Leonie Wood      March 23, 2011

ED ESHUYS may have set some ambitious performance goals over the four years that he was chief executive of the gold producer St Barbara Ltd, but in the tumultuous year of 2008 he may have been too ambitious.

St Barbara’s production and budgetary targets were not met, cash was tight, and with a global crisis of confidence paralysing the banking sector there were grim prospects of refinancing the company’s facilities. As the Victorian Supreme Court heard yesterday, disappointment followed disappointment at St Barbara in 2008.

A five-year management budget did not meet Mr Eshuys’ standards, so was deferred; a multimillion-dollar accounting error emerged in October; and there were difficulties mining ore at the company’s West Australia operations.

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By November 2008, the court heard, Mr Eshuys’ fellow directors had become ”alarmed” by a further deterioration in the cash position. By mid-December, St Barbara’s board found a replacement for Mr Eshuys.

When he left in March 2009, the company paid its outgoing chief executive various entitlements plus a sum of $150,000, ostensibly for hitting some performance targets.

But Mr Eshuys is suing St Barbara for up to $1 million, which was the most he could receive for reaching performance-based goals.

He argues that while St Barbara under his management fell short of stated operating cost targets and gold production targets, the board did not fairly and reasonably take into account other factors.

Mr Eshuys yesterday told Justice Stephen Kaye that by December 2008, despite the setbacks and cash-flow figures being below budget, he believed the company’s position was improving and that by February 2009 it would have gone ”close to, if not exceed” the budgeted cashflow forecast.

A letter from Mr Eshuys’ lawyers to St Barbara’s lawyers in December 2008, which was tendered in court, contended Mr Eshuys ”is meeting the milestones” set out in his performance contract, namely gold production targets and the company’s cash position.

Asked by counsel for St Barbara, Philip Solomon, SC, what he meant by ”is” meeting the targets, Mr Eshuys told the court that at the time he ”fully believed that we would achieve them [the targets] by the end of February”.

Later he told Justice Kaye that in January 2009, ”we were short of budget but we were improving”.

The court heard St Barbara in mid-2008 raised $120 million through a rights issue, but some St Barbara directors and some of its shareholders were concerned about the suddenness of the raising. In February 2009 St Barbara again tapped the market to raise $75 million.

The court also heard that St Barbara’s woes in late 2008 and early 2009 coincided with rapidly rising Australian dollar prices for gold. Under cross-examination, Mr Eshuys conceded it was a ”poor” outcome that gold production fell 16 per cent short of budgeted figures between September 2008 and February 2009.

St Barbara, which is expected to begin calling witnesses today, argues it was not obliged to pay Mr Eshuys more than $150,000


Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Brendan Grylls forced

to reveal Palmer dealings

January 26, 2011 – 11:07AM
CCC urged to probe email trail between Clive Palmer and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls.
CCC urged to probe email trail between Clive Palmer and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls.

The West Australian Information Commissioner has ordered Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls to release information about his dealings with mining magnate Clive Palmer.

For months the WA opposition has pursued the government over why Mr Palmer’s company Mineralogy was not forced to pay a $45 million bond for the project in the Pilbara.

In March last year opposition state development spokesman Mark McGowan applied under Freedom of Information for all documents to and from the minister’s office concerning Mineralogy and its chairman Mr Palmer, a National Party donor.

As a result Mr Grylls, the WA National Party leader, released 11 edited documents but refused to hand over a further 17 because he viewed them as outside the scope of Mr McGowan’s application.

The information commissioner found Mr Grylls’ decision was “deficient” because it did not give “details of the reasons for the refusal”.

“The notice given to the complainant only asserted that the 17 documents, to which access was refused, were exempt,” the finding stated.

“However, the material facts that is, the facts necessary to constitute the exemption claimed and references to the material on which the minister’s findings were based were not included in the notice.”

Following a search of an email account of a former staffer of Mr Grylls, the commissioner also found six additional documents relevant to the FOI application.

Mr Grylls will now be forced to reveal about 35 additional documents either partially or in full.

Although the minister and Mr Palmer can appeal the decision through the courts, Mr McGowan called on them to be open and transparent.

“Mr Grylls must now come clean and release the documents,” Mr McGowan said.

“While Mr Grylls and Professor Palmer can appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, I call on them to finally be open and accountable and release the documents.”

He said the decision to exempt Mineralogy from the paying the environmental bond had saved Mr Palmer $45 million and “brought into question the integrity of the state’s environmental approvals process”.

“Earlier documents released regarding this matter show that Mr Grylls was intimately involved in lobbying the environment minister and the premier’s office to assist Clive Palmer’s project,” he said.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

California woman arrested

in insider trading case

By Jonathan Stempel and Emily Chasan

NEW YORK | Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:05pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday charged a California woman with leaking secrets about technology companies to two hedge funds in exchange for illegal payments, expanding their probe into insider trading.

Winifred Jiau is at least the sixth person arrested since U.S. authorities raided three hedge funds last month, ratcheting up the pressure on the industry in their more than two-year-old probe.

Primary Global Research LLC, an “expert network” firm that linked investors such as hedge funds with industry experts, in a statement said it used Jiau as a consultant from September 2006 to December 2008, when “the relationship was ended.”

The period roughly corresponds with the time frame in which prosecutors said Jiau’s alleged illegal activity took place.

Jiau’s lawyer was not immediately available to comment.

Prosecutors accused Jiau, 43, of selling inside information about publicly traded companies including computer chipmakers Marvell Technology Group Ltd and Nvidia Corp to hedge funds, including the founder of a New York fund that prosecutors did not identify.

They said the information was sold through an expert network firm, in exchange for more than $200,000 of payments funneled through that firm, also not identified.

Nvidia spokesman Hector Marinez said Jiau had been a contractor at Nvidia before leaving about a year ago. Marvell did not return a request for comment.

Hedge funds pay expert network firms for access to experts who are supposed to offer insights on industry trends.


Jiau was charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy, and could face 20 years in prison on the securities fraud charge, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York.

The defendant was arrested at her Fremont, California, home on Tuesday, and ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas at a hearing Wednesday in San Francisco.

A bail hearing is set for January 3. It is unclear whether Jiau’s case will eventually be transferred to New York.

Jiau’s arrest follows criminal charges on December 16 against three technology company executives who allegedly sold secrets about companies including Apple Inc and chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Also charged on that date was James Fleishman, a salesman at Primary Global, which had used the executives as consultants.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Australian miner in $50m Fairfax buy

Julian Lee and Colin Kruger
December 8, 2010

THE drama continued at Fairfax Media yesterday with mining billionaire Gina Rinehart revealed as the buyer of a $50 million stake in the company, one day after the abrupt departure of its chief executive, Brian McCarthy.

Market sources confirmed Ms Rinehart was behind the acquisition, which follows her raid on the Ten Network last month that netted her 10 per cent of the broadcaster. Morgan Stanley, which conducted Ms Rinehart’s raid on Ten, would not comment yesterday, nor did Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.

Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett said: ”The company welcomes the investment interest and show of confidence from all our shareholders.”

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It is not known if Ms Rinehart plans to increase her stake in Fairfax, owner of The Age. Her current stake represents 1.5 per cent of the company’s stock.

More than 60 million Fairfax shares were traded on Monday following the departure of Mr McCarthy, who has been replaced on an interim basis by Greg Hywood. Because broking codes have been removed from trading systems, there is no confirmation of how many of those shares were traded by Morgan Stanley.

Under sharemarket rules, once Ms Rinehart’s holdings reach 5 per cent, she must declare ownership. It is then that questions will be asked in earnest as to what her intentions are towards the company, which has an open and fluid register.

Former director John B. Fairfax’s Marinya Media is the largest individual shareholder with 9.7 per cent. The largest institutional investor is Colonial First State with 11 per cent.

In May this year, Fairfax signed a deal with Ten to serve short clips of news footage to complement news reports by Fairfax journalists. But Ms Rinehart’s second media acquisition in as many months may have more to do with gaining influence as she protects a mining empire worth around $5 billion.

Ms Rinehart has continued to be a vocal critic of the mining tax, including its latest iteration, the mineral resource rent tax.

In a recent article she wrote for a mining publication, Ms Rinehart said: ”Changes are needed, and not only to bury the MRRT immediately and permanently.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha