Kuzma

Eddie Obeid accuses counsel of having a racist attitude

ALLEGATIONS of racism, name changing and secret deals marked Eddie Obeid's colourful return to the corruption watchdog's headquarters on Monday.

The former Labor powerbroker was questioned over claims he attempted to influence retail leases at Sydney's Circular Quay for his own financial gain.

He also denied being the "leader" of the NSW Labor party power players known as the Terrigals, of which the states former ports minister Joe Tripodi was a member.

Mr Obeid said he had mentored Mr Tripodi and described him as a close ally but rejected the suggestion that he was the titular head of the group and insisted there were "seven or eight of them, that got together and made decisions".

The ICAC is also examining whether Mr Obeid misused his position as an MP to attempt to influence other public officials to make decisions favouring Direct Health Solutions Pty Ltd, without disclosing that he, his family or a related entity had an interest in that company.

Asked whether he was aware his family half of a $480,000 investment into DHS was linked to his family interests when he prepared a brief for the then NSW treasurer about a scheme the company was offering to reduce sick leave, Mr Obeid said "you're making me aware of it".

Mr Obeid went on to accuse the counsel assisting the commissioner of having a racist attitude towards his family after he was asked why, as the "head of the family", he wouldn't have been told about his son's interest in DHS.

"Mr Commissioner, I am the father of nine children and 31 grandchildren, grandfather if you want to call that a head fine, they have respect for me but I'm not involved in their daily lives and this is not some wog Lebanese, we all eat from the one bloody plate... ," Mr Obeid said.

"This is, this, this is disgraceful thinking that in Australia my eldest son is 48-years-old that I have to feed him...and his brothers and they run their business, they run their own interest and, and they look after those business and they don't need my assistance."

The hearings continue.


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