Tag Archives: 2008 General Election

Time to go John

” …a sense in which Andrew Little is responsible is that he has been part of a campaign of deliberate lies… It is very sad that an opposition party would [behave] so dishonestly…”

Given John Key’s entire tenure as prime minister is built on lies, this from Matthew Hooton over at The Dimpost’s comment section is somewhat ironic, and insulting.

In October 2008 as the then opposition leader, Key maintained his 1991 statement to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into failed corporate high-flier Equiticorp and it’s fraudulent H-Fee transactions with Australian corporate giant Elders IXL, was accurate. But his well documented relationship with infamous New York based Bankers Trust currency raider Andrew Krieger says otherwise.

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We know Key worked with Krieger, this was confirmed in great detail by hi Bankers Trust boss Gavin Walker* in February 2008. Telling media Key knew everything Krieger was executing across the Auckland Bankers Trust’s branch’s trading desk; indeed looking after Krieger was part of Key’s job description. Key himself has said he can still recall his first phone call with the trader, saying Krieger asked him about New Zealand’s GDP and it’s monetary supply.

We can also be sure Key was at his previous firm Elders Merchant Finance on 17 August 1987, as he filmed for Close Up’s “Big Dealers” episode on that day. What we know of Krieger is that he resigned from Bankers Trust on 23 February 1988. His resignation is well documented, having been reported in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and later in Krieger’s own book, ‘The Money Bazaar’.

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To have worked with Krieger, which there is no doubt, Key needed to have left Elders Merchant Finance to start with Bankers Trust sometime after 17 August 1987 but before Krieger’s 23 February 1988 resignation date.

Therefore Key’s statement to the Equiticorp inquiry in which he told investigators he left  Elders Merchant Finance for Bankers Trust on 31 August 1988 can only be a lie. His insistence to voters in October 2008 that his statement was entirely accurate can only be another one.

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Lying to an SFO investigation carries a maximum $15,000 fine or twelve months jail, more for conspiring to mislead, and I think any investigation would find that’s exactly what Key (and his ex-Elders colleague Paul Richards**) did.

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Time to go John.

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* Gavin Walker, current Chair, Board of Guardians of New Zealand Superfund
** Paul Richards, current head of Foreign Exchange Distribution, UBS, North America

John Key talks free tertiary education

OD: “Finally on education, in your first State of the Nation speech you spoke about the opportunity you had for a good education. Kids today end up with an average student debt of $28,000 to get the same education as you did. Any plans to go back to tertiary education, free tertiary education?”

JK: “I don’t know if we’d go back free…” (continued below)

"Let's Be Frank" with Oliver Driver, ALT TV, 6 March, 2008,  1.06 - 5.29 
 

OD: “Why not?”

JK: “Um, sheer cost of it I guess. It’s about…”

OD: “$350 million a year.”

JK: “Yeah. I guess what would you do with the $9 billion of student loans.”

OD: (partly unaudible, possibly ‘scrap em’)

JK: “there’s equity issues..”

OD: “C’mon lets look at you, here you are, the perfect example of a man who was born into a state house, made good, got his education, was able to go to university because it was free.”

JK: “Yeah.”

OD: “Ya know, got to the place where you are.”

JK: “Yeah.”

OD: “And now, you might be our prime minister.”

JK: “Yeah.”

OD: “And yet the next generation of John Keys’ have to pay $28,000 in student loans, if they can get a student loan in the first place.”

JK: “Yeah. Look there’s a number of different parts of that right. Firstly, probably, that tertiary education is widened out substantially to where it was. So a lot of those students, I mean the loans aren’t necessarily um related to, ya know tertiary qualifications, they’re actually around – well they are tertiary but not university per se, they might be a whole lot of other sort of areas.”

OD: “Sure, but it is estimated around $350 million is all we would need to provide free tertiary education.”

JK: “Yeah. Well {int}”

OD: “Now surely with the massive surpluses you keep going on about and the huge desire we have for ‘tax cuts’, we can afford these ‘tax cuts’ because of these huge surpluses. You could give every kid in this country back to having free tertiary education.”

JK: “I guess what I want to say to you is look, I mean we are looking at things like student allowances and all those sort of things. We made it clear we’re going to keep loans at zero percent, and we’ve made it clear, if you repay early , and some will, they’ll get a 10% discount on that.”

OD: “But you didn’t have to do it.”

JK: “I know.”

OD: “And look at where you are?”

JK: “Yeah but the issue..”

OD: “And you’re worried about the brain drain, you’re worried about upskilling our people, and you’re worried about all these sorts of things and yet, that, seems to me one of the most basic things you could do.”

JK: “And there are some areas where we could do that right and we’ve argued that we want to ‘bond’ doctors or might want to certain things with teachers, and write off their student loans, which is the virtually the same thing. I mean wholesale could we do it I dunno, we could look at it. I mean one thing I could say to you is, and this is what I say to young people when I go out to all of the schools all the time – if you’ve got a chance, go to university don’t worry about the student loan, that is the least of your problems but do two things, finish the degree…”

OD: “It’s not the least of their problems once they graduate, I know them.”

JK: “Yeah”

OD: “They’re walking around with $28,000, $40,000, $60,000 dollar debts around their necks, while you were in your first year of work, earning your first amount of cash, they’re hard slog paying back their debt.”

JK: “Yeah”

OD: “To be an educated part of society.”

JK: “Yeah. I mean yeah, you’ve got to look at it and say, “hey what’s driving those costs”, so what is your average course fee at university? About $4000 dollars are year? That sort of number? Probably. Um, I haven’t looked recently, but I guess it’s that sort of number. So, so a lot of what is driving that debt is because they are living away from home right? Now, so, had I been at university and lived away from home – I mean I know I had the luxury of being able to live at home, and I was in Christchurch, and I could go to Canterbury – but the bottom line is, I would have racked up debt then too. I mean, even back in my day, it was only the fees that were paid. So.”

OD: “So do that.”

JK: “Yeah, well that’s a possibility I suppose. I’m just saying, I understand where you are coming from and I’m not disagreeing with you. We want people to go and we don’t want people racked down with debt; and one of the reasons I didn’t like zero percent loans, and I was open about it in the campaign in 2005, was I was really worried people would take down more debt, and that actually even shows, they have, and for longer.”

OD: “But don’t you think part of the reason people are fleeing to Australia is to escape them?”

JK: “Partly because {int} well partly, {int} partly what the problem is I think, is they get this debt and while they’re at university it doesn’t seem that much, they say “ok, I owe $30,000 grand, well I’m gonna start working, I’ll pay it off”. As soon as they come out, there’s lots of other expenses that they hadn’t thought about – they want to move out, whatever, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever it might be – move in, and the problem is that debt hangs around, at which point their income is higher – then they go…”

OD: “Hang on just two minutes ago you said to me you encourage kids to not worry about the debt, to go to university, the debt won’t matter, and now you’re out here telling me that debt builds up, and it’s a whole lot more expensive, and they have to run to Australia.”

JK: “No. I’ll tell you why I think it shouldn’t matter if they get debt, and the answer to that is, getting the qualification, all the academic evidence shows you, your tertiary qualified, you complete your degree, your average income earning stream is much higher. So it’s what I say to you, what I say to young people is, get the qualification, and make sure you go there, make sure you complete it.”

OD: “I’m just saying I think you should think about that. You want people to not leave for Australia. You want increase our national average income. Surely free tertiary education is a way to achieve both of those things. In some part. ”

(Please report any transcribing errors below, thank you)

Key’s biggest lie of all: his 1991 statement to the Equiticorp inquiry

The Standard has a posted an updated listing today of John Key’s lies. There’s a lot of them.

One lie that doesn’t often make these lists is what I believe to be the biggest lie of all: his 1991 statement to the Equiticorp inquiry.

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In July 1990 New Zealand’s newly formed Serious Fraud Office were charged with investigating the shambles that was Equiticorp and it’s now infamous founder Alan Hawkins.  Unraveling a ledger entry called ‘H-Fee’ ultimately saw Australia’s SFO equivalent, the now defunct National Crime Authority, assist with the Equiticorp investigation.  While the SFO pursued Hawkins over Equiticorp, the NCA went after Australian based Elders IXL and it’s founder John Elliot over the ‘H-Fee’ entries. It was alleged that $67 million (NZ$76) in fraudulent foreign exchange transactions were made in two payments to Equiticorp to pay back Hawkins for his assistance in Elliot’s 1986 takeover battle for steelmaking giant BHP.

Two years early on 26 August 1988, setting in motion the second  (A$27 million) of the ‘H-Fee’ payments, Elders IXL executive Ken Jarrett had met with Elders Merchant Finance manager Peter Camm and head of foreign exchange, Paul Richards in Wellington. The transaction was completed on 7 September 1988.

One week before been elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in November 2008, Key was asked about the truthfulness of this statement. He said it was 100% truthful, 100% correct and anything else was “a smear campaign by a desperate left”.

Is it a smear if an accusation is true?

When the NCA brought charges against Elliot and other Elders IXL executives, Peter Camm and Paul Richards were also facing fraud charges. In May 1991, now working at Bankers Trust, Key was asked to corroborate a part of Richards statement, namely a lunch he claimed that two had on 31 August 1988.

Richards was alleging it was the 31st and not the 26th that he and Camm had met with Jarrett that August. The trader was adamant of the date and told investigators he could recall the “lunch” and it’s “date”, as it was a “farewell” for “John Key” who was leaving the firm to go to Bankers Trust. Key agreed with Richards recollection of events and made a statement to the investigation reflecting that.

Except Key worked with New York based currency raider Andrew Krieger while they were both at Bankers Trust. This relationship has been confirmed by Key’s then boss, Gavin Walker. Walker has said of the relationship, that it was more or less in Key’s job description to look after Krieger, saying on Key’s first day with Bankers Trust he gave Key a list of their top clients, of which Krieger was one of them. Key himself has said he will never forget his first call with Krieger, where he asked Key about New Zealand’s GDP and it’s monetary supply.

For Key to have worked with Krieger, of which there is no doubt, then he would have had to have left Elders Merchant Finance in August 1987, and not 1988 as told to investigators, as Krieger resigned from Bankers Trust in February 1988. By June 1988 he had retired from the currency markets altogether, not returning to them until 1990. Readers may also recall Key told a reporter in 2007 he had indeed left Elders Merchant Finance in 1987 but called that a mistake when his 1991 Equiticorp statement surfaced a year later.

If Key wishes the New Zealand public to believe he was telling the truth to them in 2008 when as a wanna be prime minister, he assured them his 1991 Equiticorp statement was 100% true and correct, then he needs to explain to us how he, in late 1988, supposedly began working so closely with a world infamous currency trader who was no longer working in the currency markets. He also needs to explain how Walker, now Chair of the Board of Guardians of the New Zealand Superfund, could have his recollection so wrong as well.

What authorities need to know is, knowingly misleading a Serious Fraud Office investigation carries a maximum fine of $15,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. Not too mention the possibly criminal issue of Key and Richards conspiring to mislead an investigation.

While some might question whether or not Key lying in his youth has any bearing on the man today, the facts are some 55,000 Equiticorp shareholders were defrauded of over $400 million dollars.

If Key was willing to lie to protect those involved in facilitating some of that fraud, does he continue to lie today to protect himself?

In his book ‘Dirty Collars’ ex SFO head Charles Sturt says this of the vast powers bestowed on his department,

“while a person may be compelled to answer questions, these answers may only be used in evidence if the accused subsequently gives evidence inconsistent with their previous statements”

John Key, did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office?

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“Except white collar crime, if it’s white collar crime then I’m probably comfortable with it”

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Ironic.

Key stating he’s the one standing up for the victims of crime. Like he did when he lied to the 1990’s Serious Fraud Office investigation into failed corporate Equiticorp? Whose execs defrauded 55,000 shareholders of over $400 million? An investigation he was happy to mislead to help out his friend who was facing charges for facilitating $40 odd million of that fraud?

Yeah victims, Key rarely cares about them.  

“Except white collar crime, if it’s white collar crime then I’m probably comfortable with it”

“Where the bloody hell are you?” Could Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s so far hasn’t?

Would Australia’s political pundits be as  ready to embrace their brand new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s unflinching admiration of  New Zealand prime minister John Key if they were aware that the subject of Turnbull’s affection had mislead an early 90’s investigation by their National Crime Authority (NCA) into the now infamous ‘H-Fee’ transactions? So what do you think? Would the tran-Tasman bromance still be welcomed despite it? Or would Australia’s journalists and commentators not be distracted by the flush of first love and actually call for the New Zealand prime minister to explain himself? Could Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s so far hasn’t?

Key & Turnbull

When Key’s 1991 statement to the H-Fee investigations surfaced a week before he was elected prime minister in November 2008, the document was largely accepted as ‘truth’ – even to the point that one highly regarded New Zealand journalist used the statement as ‘evidence’ of Key telling the ‘truth’ about one of his more infamous pre-PM brain-fades. In 2007 Key had tried to front foot questions by New Zealand Labour party politicians about his involvement in the H-Fee investigation, and in doing so had told a journalist that the ‘Labour hounds had nothing on him because he had left EMF in 1987 long before any of the H-Fees we’re decided’. When his statement came to light and it showed Key had actually told investigators he had left EMF in 1988, not 1987 as he’d told this reporter, Key confidently reassured waiting media that what he told investigators in 1991 was the real year and if they were to hear anything to the contrary, then it was nothing but a left-wing smear campaign by a desperate Helen Clark  and her then incumbent Labour government colleagues.

At the same time as Australia’s (now defunct) NCA were investigating the complex H-Fee foreign exchange movements between Australia’s corporate high-flier Elders IXL and New Zealand’s own Equiticorp, New Zealand’s newly established Serious Fraud Office (SFO) were trying to unravel this and many other dodgy movements of money into the hands of Equiticorp founder Alan Hawkins. The two investigating bodies worked closely together sharing information, running separate prosecutions within their own jurisdictions, with the NCA bringing a case in Australia against some of the offending parties over there and in 1992 in New Zealand the SFO’s brought successful charges against Hawkins. He was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison.

Key became involved in the H-Fee investigations when an ex-colleague of his Paul Richards, now head of forex at UBS in United States, was facing fraud charges for his part in one of the transactions. He had helped to facilitate some of the foreign exchange movements necessary to hide these transactions while working for Elders IXL’s New Zealand based subsidiary Elders Merchant Finance (EMF) in Wellington in 1988. Richards was only ever a bit player and eventually was given immunity from charges in return for giving evidence for the NCA’s prosecution across the ditch. Funnily enough a defense lawyer in that court case alleged Richards and Key’s statements to the investigation we’re completely made up, nothing but utter fabrication. What did they know that we don’t?

Richards who was first interviewed in November 1990, told investigators he could supposedly recall an event from 31 August 1988 because he and an ex-colleague ‘John Key’ had had a lunch that day. He could recall the exact date of the lunch because it allegedly marked his colleague’s last day with the firm. This date was at odds with the evidence of Richards’ boss Peter Camm and Elders IXL executive from Australia, Ken Jarrett, both of whom were also under investigation. Allegedly Richard’s was called away from the ‘lunch’ to meet with these two men. Jarrett had supposedly flown to New Zealand from Australia that morning.

In May 1991 Key was asked to corroborate Richards’ evidence. He told investigators he had given notice on 24 June 1988 and then two months later on 31 August the two colleagues were celebrating his final day, he was leaving EMF to head a newly established forex exchange department at rival finance company Bankers Trust. He confirmed Richards’ evidence about their lunch including how Richards had received a call and had to return immediately to the office. About 45 minutes later Richards allegedly returned, a little shaken but he told Key he could not go into detail other than to say he had just had a very strange meeting with his two co-accused. Allegedly the men continued their lunch and supposedly never discussed the strange turn of events again.

Now at Bankers Trust we were told Key worked with infamous American currency raider Andrew Krieger who was based at the company’s New York branch at the time. This relationship we we’re told was highly lucrative for the New Zealand branch and had soon turned the Auckland dealing room into the number one forex dealing room in the country. Reports about the success of this relationship worked to cement the then Leader of the Opposition’s backstory as a ‘state house kid made good’, a currency trader of some merit, a man at the top of his game, right in the thick of it with the world’s most notorious and infamous best. Key’s ex boss Gavin Walker, now chair of the Board of Guardians of the New Zealand Superfund, told media Key was responsible for the Auckland branch’s relationship with Krieger, it was in his job description to look after him and that as far as Walker was aware Key knew everything that Kreiger was executing across the local branch’s trading desk. Key himself told media he would never forget his first phone call with Krieger as the currency legend asked him about New Zealand’s GDP and it’s monetary supply.

Except Key working with Krieger means there is no time in 1988 that Key could have been working with Richards at EMF – it is simply not possible. Kreiger resigned from Bankers Trust on 23 February 1988 – some six months before the 31 August date Richards had told investigators, and later corroborated by Key, as been Key’s last day before he joined Bankers Trust in Auckland. Krieger’s resignation is well documented. He had disputed the amount of bonus he was due from his 1987 trades and promptly resigned leaving the company within a matter of weeks. Upon leaving Krieger spent one month on holiday before returning to the forex markets with another company. By June 1988 though he was disillusioned with currency trading and left the currency markets altogether, not only the markets but America itself, to study Sanskrit in India. He did not return to the currency markets until sometime in 1990. Even if Key’s statement to the H-Fee investigation is believed, it does not explain how he could trade millions upon millions of dollars of currency with someone that helped turn his trading room into the best in the country, when that person had left the currency markets entirely a couple of months earlier?

Did Key lie to the H-Fee investigations? More than likely. Will Aussie commentators think less of him for it? Hopefully. Not sure if Prime Minister Turnbull will, but no one will ever know unless the New Zealand media start asking Key to explain himself. Or could Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s media so far hasn’t?

In his book ‘Dirty Collars’ ex SFO head Charles Sturt says this of the vast powers bestowed upon his department,

“while a person may be compelled to answer questions, these answers may only be used in evidence if the accused subsequently gives evidence inconsistent with their previous statements”

So c’mon on journos, “where the bloody hell are you?”

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2008 6 March ALT TV: Oliver Driver (Lets Be Frank) interview where Key talks about working with Andrew Krieger at Bankers Trust

2008 30 October Radio New Zealand: Kathryn Ryan(Nine to Noon) interviews John Key about H-Fee a week before 2008 General Election

Legal scholar & author Frank Partnoy interviewed Andrew Krieger for the book “Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets” and dedicated a chapter to him. The intro & chapter featuring Krieger ‘Patient Zero’ can be read free on Amazon Kindle +PC. Click “Read first chapter free” to view.

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