Key’s Impossible Timeline
May 1991 John Key is interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office, they were investigating the failed company Equiticorp and it’s executives’ dodgy dealings, including a series of faux foreign exchange transactions carried out by Key’s old employers, Elders Merchant Finance. His ex-colleague, Paul Richards was facing fraud charges. Key was asked to corroborate Richard’s evidence about a ‘lunch’. I propose the entire statement is a fabrication, the lunch never took place and that Key had left Elders in 1987, just like he told media in 2007. When his statement surfaced in 2008 however, Key quickly claimed he’d simply gotten his dates wrong and meant to tell media he left Elders in 1988 – funnily enough – just like his fabricated ‘SFO statement’ said.
What we’ve been told
- Key was asked to corroborate the statement of an ex colleague
- In November 1990, this colleague has told the SFO he could be sure of a date (that was at odds with evidence of other people accused of these fraudulent forex transactions) 31 August 1988, because he had allegedly gone to lunch with Key that day
- They both tell investigators this lunch occurred on Key’s last day at Elders Merchant Finance
- They say they can remember the date because it was Key’s ‘farewell lunch’
- He was leaving Elders to go to Bankers Trust
Key’s statement timeline
- Key resigns Elders Merchant Finance 24 June 1988
- His last day 31 August 1988 shares a farewell lunch with a colleague
- He starts at Bankers Trust sometime after 31 August 1988
However, we’ve been told
- On first day at Bankers Trust Key was given a list of premium clients
- On that list was infamous currency raider Andrew Krieger, based at the company’s New York branch
- Key’s boss, Gavin Walker (now Chair of Board of Guardians, New Zealand Superfund) says Key was responsible for managing the relationship with Krieger, it was part of his job description
- Krieger’s trades helped to turn the local Bankers Trust branch into the number one dealing room in the country
Here’s where the Key’s timeline goes wrong
- Krieger resigned from Bankers Trust New York on 23 February 1988
- His resignation is well documented, appearing in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal at the time as well as discussed later in Krieger’s book
- Krieger quickly bores of currency trading and leaves the currency markets in June 1988; not returning to them until late 1990
- Krieger’s resignation is some six months before the date Key tells investigators he is leaving Elders for Bankers Trust
- 24 June 1987 (note the date), Elders IXL announce their plans to restructure the company
- Key resigns Elders sometime between June 24–September 15 1987
- Immediately leaves the firm but is subject to ‘Gardening Leave’
- During this period he collaborates with the firms New York office in some heavy duty currency speculation (his own words)
- 70% of Bankers Trusts’ currency trades were done in overseas markets not New Zealand, possibly why Key is able to carry on trading during his gardening leave
- Gardening leave ends sometime early 1988 and Key’s official start with Bankers Trust begins
If Key told SFO he started working at a company in 1988, but his own and that of his then boss, evidence suggests it was 1987, then he has misled the investigation. One week before the 2008 election Key lies to media and voters and calls any claims to the contrary as ‘attack politics’ from a desperate left. New Zealanders’ deserve an explanation. John Key did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office?
Which raises another serious question; John Key did you…?
Twenty-six years ago last Sunday it was September 7 1988. The date is not renowned for much other than being the day Afghanistan’s first ever astronaut returned to earth. New Zealanders however might be more familiar with it. We were told it was the day currency traders at Elders Merchant Finance in Wellington had completed the last of the now infamous ‘H-Fee’ sham foreign exchange transactions. We learned the importance of this in the lead up to the 2008 General Election. Rumours of a signature on a court document that could possibly tie the leader of the National Party John Key an ex Elders employee, to those fraudulent events, had seen Labour Party president Mike Williams racing to Australia in pursuit of it.
The ensuing publicity threatened to derail Key’s chances of leading the National Party to victory, but as he explained it, he knew nothing of the New Zealand leg of the H-Fee transactions as he started with Bankers Trust the week before. Key’s statement to the Serious Fraud Office investigation was seen by media, and quotes from it were reported as confirmation that everything Key was now telling us was true. They even served in helping to correct a mistake from 2007 where Key said he had accidentally told a reporter he had left Elders in 1987, when his last day there according to his statement, was actually 31 August 1988.
Except that cannot be right? A person he is said to have worked with at Bankers Trust, Andrew Krieger, had resigned from the company some six months before. His 23 February 1988 resignation is well documented. After orchestrating spectacular attacks on worldwide currencies, including a breathtaking raid on New Zealand’s own ‘kiwi’ in October 1987, Krieger’s notoriety was well known and his February resignation scandalised the financial world. His leaving was reported in the New York Times on the 28 February 1988 and a month later Krieger’s story was a feature in the 24 March issue of the Wall Street Journal. In 1992, in the book he co-authored, ‘The Money Bazaar’, Krieger himself discusses leaving Bankers Trust, “I left in February 1988.”
The Sunday Star Times feature on Key from February 2008 says this about working with Krieger, “He formed what was to be a lucrative relationship with 32-year-old currency trader Andy Krieger” who began “putting hundreds of millions of dollars of business through Key’s dealing room” and “the huge flow of business from Krieger and others at Bankers Trust in New York soon turned the local branch into the number one dealing room in New Zealand, cementing Key’s success and fattening his bonus packets.”
In John Roughan’s book “Portrait of a Prime Minister” published a couple of months ago, Key’s boss at Bankers Trust, Gavin Walker, says he gave Key a list of premium contacts on his first day and on that list was Krieger, based at the company’s parent branch in New York. Key himself is quoted in the same paragraph as saying, “he will never forget the first call he took from Krieger. ‘His first question to me was, “What’s the GDP of New Zealand?”
Walker, now Chair of the Board of the Guardians of the New Zealand Super Fund, was quoted in both the February SST article and later in similar piece in July for the New Zealand Herald, as saying, “Managing that relationship on behalf of the dealing room was part of John’s responsibilities. He knew everything Krieger was executing on our desk.“
Now I realise what I’m suggesting may be uncomfortable for some but the hugely popular incumbent Prime Minister of three small Pacific islands somewhere to the bottom of the earth may have misled voters, and if true, that is serious enough in itself; but there may be wider implications here. This is the same impossible timeline Key and Paul Richards (Key’s ex Elders colleague and friend) had given to the SFO investigation. Please note too, when I say Serious Fraud Office that also includes Australia’s National Crime Authority. The SFO and the now defunct NCA worked closely together to unravel the fraudulent Trans Tasman scams. Their combined investigation led to a successful H-Fee guilty plea in Australia and a prison term for Ken Jarrett, an executive at EMF’s parent company across the ditch.
When Williams’ trawling of the Australian court documents unearthed Key’s statement to the SFO, we learned Richards and Key had told investigators they could be assured of the date for an event from some years prior because Key was moving to Auckland the next day to take up his position with Bankers Trust. Richards claimed not long after he and Key had sat down for Key’s good bye lunch he was called back to work because Jarrett had unexpectedly turned up at the office. Key allegedly waited 45 minutes for Richard’s return and when he did they say they continued with their celebratory send-off.
Funnily enough Jarrett’s lawyers, albeit for the defendant whom Richards had immunity for testifying against, suggested Richards’ evidence which differed vividly from Jarrett’s (and others) recollections of that period, was completely made up; as was Key’s subsequent collaboration. It has been reported Richards too ended up at Bankers Trust, just not when that was. Were Key and Richards working together in November 1990 when Richards was first interviewed by investigators? Were they working together in May 1991 when Key was?
It is also worth noting at this point, ex Labour Party MP and minister Pete Hodgson questioned the validity of Key’s statement too (NZH, October 2008), accepting that he was a veterinarian and not a lawyer, Hodgson opined, “Either [the Herald] have been misled or the Serious Fraud Office has been misled – I don’t know. If the SFO has been willingly misled, issues of perjury arise.”
Key has said (NZH, October 2008) after resigning from Elders on 24 June he immediately went on ‘gardening leave’. He spent the time until his last day 31 August he says, “[travelling] to Australia to meet with Elders people, took holidays, spent time at home and worked on the takeover of a stockbroking firm.” But in November (NZH, 2008) we’re told before joining Bankers Trust, “he collaborated with the firms New York office in some heavy duty currency speculation.” He has claimed Bankers Trust bought him out of a three year contract. They would not have needed to buy him out of a three year contact in 1988 as he would have been at the end of it.
So, John Key, I again find myself asking, I asked him this in 2011 as well, you can read all about it here, did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office? If the answer is not yes, then the alternative is, I have to believe, the Prime Minister of New Zealand and his ex boss, now Chair of New Zealand Super Fund, concocted for the media an elaborate yet unnecessary back story of a nonexistent professional relationship with a dodgy American currency raider? I cannot imagine any solution where inventing an imaginary relationship with Andrew Krieger was the answer to the problem?
“What the episode does expose (again) is Key’s faulty memory for critical dates in his life story. He (or wife Bronagh) should sit-down some night and pull together a resume – call it a CV if you like – that says exactly where he worked and when, then memorise it.”
It is my belief that Key resigned from Elders Merchant Finance in 1987, not 1988 as he has led us to believe, leaving not long after EMF’s parent company Elders IXL announced its plans to restructure effective from 1 July 1987. The company announced their restructuring in a press release dated 24 June. I believe it was during this time of uncertainty after the company’s restructuring that Key was approached by his future boss, Walker, to come head Bankers Trust’s soon to be established dealing room. Although Bankers Trust did 70% of their trades outside of New Zealand (NBR, June 1987) they wished to set up a local branch here and thus in September 1988 applied for a New Zealand banking licence.
If Walker did buy Key out of his three year contract sometime in late August/early September, it allows for three months of ‘gardening leave’, i.e. October, November, and December 1987 for the so called ‘heavy duty currency speculation’ he apparently collaborated on before officially starting with Bankers Trust. Secondly this timeframe is the only plausible opportunity for Key to have worked with Krieger before Krieger resigned. Which raises another serious question; John Key did you participate in Krieger’s 1987 run on the New Zealand dollar?
Published on: Sep 10, 2014 @ 11:30
Click to view:
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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