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28 minutes ago, JackSprat said:

All business deals are done for the benefit of the participants. Who we're the losers in this case? That's right. Nobody was!

But 'business deals' involve all parties exactly fulfilling all aspects of the agreed contract.  When one party slips funds into his/her own pocket contrary to the contract, that's fraud, regardless of whether there's an obvious victim or not (which in this case was the parties who thought they were getting X% of the deal surplus, but were in fact getting only (X-Y)%).

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8 hours ago, tawhio said:

The biggest problem from the Mike  O'Brien saga is the number of clubs caught up in back handers and wanton greed. Whilst there is no doubt that huge money came back to clubs and went into stakes all clubs knew what they were doing was corrupt and wrong.It is very clear a number of trotting clubs in bottom of North Island are clearly involved. Clearly the administrators of these clubs have been duped into this rort, how much in the way of funds ended up back into Mike O'Brien and co's back pockets and how much into club managements phone accounts will never be known but NZRB, NZTR,RIU and HRNZ know who is clearly in this and they need to clear the air. They need to get rid of the crooks in the industry no matter how high individuals are flying.It's truly ironic that one of the clubs involved is chaired by a member of the police who needs to explain how he can give gun licenses to people on one hand and then let his CEO play a full role as one of Mike's mate ripping off pokie funds

O'Brien clearly has been dishonest, manipulating and concealing things to circumvent the laws for the betterment of himself and the racing industry.  He appears to have been of the belief he had done it in a way that was lawful, albeit morally wrong.       But your really are getting a bit carried away with your assumptions that any of the benefactors apart from Obrien had any knowledge that what was occurring was illegal. You must know that just because it is unfair and morally wrong means little for many men in suits sitting in offices controlling finances of big corporations. Tax and legal loop holes exploited at every opportunity, Everyone condemning those  in this case are justified to do so ,however there next step should be to go and look at themselves in the mirror and to reflect on any similar things that they may have benefitted from in life ,no matter what the scale. 

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29 minutes ago, Basil said:

But 'business deals' involve all parties exactly fulfilling all aspects of the agreed contract.  When one party slips funds into his/her own pocket contrary to the contract, that's fraud, regardless of whether there's an obvious victim or not (which in this case was the parties who thought they were getting X% of the deal surplus, but were in fact getting only (X-Y)%).

Everybody involved knew exactly how the money was being split up, hence the clubs being happy to pay the invoices, and as What A Post has alluded to, business people are pushing the boundaries of the rules, especially the tax rules, every single day. This was no different.

If as it appears, Mike O'Brien and his associates are going to end up in jail over this affair, they are simply the fall guys for an entire industry that was happy to reap the benefits of their "rule bending" scheme that flooded money into harness racing.

I wonder how many of the owners, trainers, drivers and breeders that benefited to the tune of many millions of dollars of Bluegrass Trust funds, will back O'Brien and his associates now that the "excretia has hit the rotary oscillator "?

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10 minutes ago, aquaman said:

The addicted and desperate.

Completely irrelevant to the Bluegrass Trust case. The pokie in the establishments were always going to be owned and controlled by someone.

The rights and wrongs of pokies is a different issue altogether, and has no bearing whatsoever on this case.

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Pokies in NZ have always been the subject of shonky deals and back handers.

In about 2006 a Metro Trust had MO'Brien as their CEO and basically the NZ Met club was owning and operating Pokies with the money going back to Harness.

The authorities put a stop to this cos of conflict of interest and deemed MO'Brien as an unsuitable person to involved with trusts/pokies. They took a dislike to O'Brien.

Around this time a lot of pokies money went to Pro or semi pro-rugby...some $150 mil from memory.

Then the Bluegrass Trust was set up in Blenheim mainly to benefit Racing as its purpose ,in particular Harness.In fact many of the machines were in the North Island with the money going to mainly South Island clubs.....kinda obvious that MO'Brien was involved but he must have thought that by using his dad and others as a front he could keep the DIA/SFO at bay.

The Nelson Trotting Club received $620k over 5 years ,much of which went to stakes so many racing people have benefitted from this rort.And probably all harness and many gallops clubs received Bluegrass monies.

After years of running around in circles the Authorites obviously found some charges to stick to Mike O'Brien  so they have got their man ...he wasn't so clever after all.

Paul Max was bankrupted a few years ago by the IRD and was living for some time in a small Motel while still working in his pubs .....he is obviously a 'fall-guy' in all this ,but also must have thought that O'Brien could stay one step of the Authorities.He has run pokies etc for a long time.So he's collateral damage in all this.

O'Briens commission seems obscene but there are many who have also benefitted greatly from these pokies rorts....all around NZ and in racing and other sports.

Events such the Harness Jewels were largely funded by pokies and few if any were screaming then 'Lock away the crooks who have funded the Stakes '.

 

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2 hours ago, JackSprat said:

Everybody involved knew exactly how the money was being split up, hence the clubs being happy to pay the invoices, and as What A Post has alluded to, business people are pushing the boundaries of the rules, especially the tax rules, every single day. This was no different.

If as it appears, Mike O'Brien and his associates are going to end up in jail over this affair, they are simply the fall guys for an entire industry that was happy to reap the benefits of their "rule bending" scheme that flooded money into harness racing.

I wonder how many of the owners, trainers, drivers and breeders that benefited to the tune of many millions of dollars of Bluegrass Trust funds, will back O'Brien and his associates now that the "excretia has hit the rotary oscillator "?

Sorry, but when you take money that you're not entitled to by law, that's not 'pushing the boundaries', that's a crime. It's no more complicated than that. Nor should this be news to anybody involved --- Sir Ngatata Love was recently sent down for a far more trivial example of basically the same offense.

Personally, I think jail time for transgressions such as this is ludicrous, and it may well be true that there should be plenty of others in the dock in this case as well, but these are completely separate issues to whether or not a crime has been committed.  Trying to deny that is like claiming the tide doesn't come in twice a day.

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Yes. according to the letter of the law a crime has been committed. But there are crimes, and there are crimes.

There are no dead bodies here. There are no injured parties. There are no financial victims. In fact, there are no victims at all!

The fact that these guys, especially O'Brien are looking at longer jail terms that many people who have killed, raped or maimed others is ridiculous.

When it comes to killers, rapists, violent offenders, and those that have conned Internal Affairs, I know which ones I'd sooner have walking the street.

For the very beneficiaries of this "crime" to now be baying for blood, is the ultimate in double standards. I presume the recipients of winnings and percentages from any races run by the participating clubs during the "Bluegrass Trust era" will be lining up to hand the money back.

No? I thought not. Yet another double standard. Glass houses and all that sort of thing!

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On 17/06/2017 at 6:25 PM, JackSprat said:

Yes. according to the letter of the law a crime has been committed. But there are crimes, and there are crimes.

There are no dead bodies here. There are no injured parties. There are no financial victims. In fact, there are no victims at all!

The fact that these guys, especially O'Brien are looking at longer jail terms that many people who have killed, raped or maimed others is ridiculous.

When it comes to killers, rapists, violent offenders, and those that have conned Internal Affairs, I know which ones I'd sooner have walking the street.

For the very beneficiaries of this "crime" to now be baying for blood, is the ultimate in double standards. I presume the recipients of winnings and percentages from any races run by the participating clubs during the "Bluegrass Trust era" will be lining up to hand the money back.

No? I thought not. Yet another double standard. Glass houses and all that sort of thing!

No argument from me about 'double standards' etc, but two wrongs don't make a right.  Going down the route of claiming there are no dead bodies or injured parties is just a very slippery slope to potentially justifying anything.  And having started in that direction, be very careful what you wish for --- the reason NZ always ranks so high in corruption surveys is that we follow the rule of law, unlike, say, Venezuela or Nigeria, where corruption of the O'Brien kind doesn't even raise an eyebrow.  Departing from that high standard is the road to serfdom.

Incidentally, it's a bit melodramatic to suggest any of them will get longer jail sentences than convicted murderers and rapists.  The anti-white collar crime hysteria hasn't gone quite that far!

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3 hours ago, Basil said:

No argument from me about 'double standards' etc, but two wrongs don't make a right.  Going down the route of claiming there are no dead bodies or injured parties is just a very slippery slope to potentially justifying anything.  And having started in that direction, be very careful what you wish for --- the reason NZ always ranks so high in corruption surveys is that we follow the rule of law, unlike, say, Venezuela or Nigeria, where corruption of the O'Brien kind doesn't even raise an eyebrow.  Departing from that high standard is the road to serfdom.

Incidentally, it's a bit melodramatic to suggest any of them will get longer jail sentences than convicted murderers and rapists.  The anti-white collar crime hysteria hasn't gone quite that far!

Possibly melodramatic to  focus on the total sum involved in this case when the majority of it went to the various Racing / Harness clubs around the country.Sure he took a healthy commission but it seems the clubs were aware of the deal and agreed to it.

The more O'Brien got the less the clubs got.....this is the point being made.

Its very common in NZ business for people to act in other peoples names ,for people to be  silent partners in businesses and horses ,for bankrupt people to continue trading /running businesses etc.Crooks who put their assets in other's names etc.Horses sold or onsold at inflated prices.Racing is riddled with examples. 

SFO obviously had difficulty nailing their man hence they took so long to prove he was breaking the law.....eventually they got him for 'Deception' not the healthy deal or monies he cut for himself.There are dozens of others who have been practising deception for years !

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Be very interesting to see how long these criminals get in terms of sentence. Hard to say where precedent lies, the Rowley/Skinner IRD  fraud case where some 1.3 mio was the figure saw them get between 6-8 years. Dont think any of them will get that long but its all at the whim of a single  judge so who knows.

 

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In the grand scheme of things, with Jack The Ripper being a 10, and Mother Theresa swiping a 20c from the petty cash being a 0.1, this whole affair is maybe a 2 in my books, and if O'Brien had been a bit more conservative with his "lobbying fees", it would have only been a 1 at worst.

We'll all have to wait and see what jail time they end up getting, and how it compares to that meted out for a range of far worse crimes, but I'm sure the judge will be coming under pressure from vested interests to dish out a hefty sentence. The Internal Affairs Dept have been made to look more or less incompetent over this whole matter, so they'll be looking for a "square up".

I've never met O'Brien, but he comes across as being a bit smug about things, which probably won't help his cause come sentencing time.

But If the aim of the law is to bring about justice, and right the wrongs, you firstly need someone who has been wronged. Other than a few inept beaurocrats having their nose out of joint, there isn't much that needs to be "righted" here.

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3 hours ago, JackSprat said:

In the grand scheme of things, with Jack The Ripper being a 10, and Mother Theresa swiping a 20c from the petty cash being a 0.1, this whole affair is maybe a 2 in my books, and if O'Brien had been a bit more conservative with his "lobbying fees", it would have only been a 1 at worst.

We'll all have to wait and see what jail time they end up getting, and how it compares to that meted out for a range of far worse crimes, but I'm sure the judge will be coming under pressure from vested interests to dish out a hefty sentence. The Internal Affairs Dept have been made to look more or less incompetent over this whole matter, so they'll be looking for a "square up".

I've never met O'Brien, but he comes across as being a bit smug about things, which probably won't help his cause come sentencing time.

But If the aim of the law is to bring about justice, and right the wrongs, you firstly need someone who has been wronged. Other than a few inept beaurocrats having their nose out of joint, there isn't much that needs to be "righted" here.

So fraud is nothing much in your book- each to their own but you arguments and points on this topic just entered the book of stupidity IMHO

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40 minutes ago, Newmarket said:

So fraud is nothing much in your book- each to their own but you arguments and points on this topic just entered the book of stupidity IMHO

Yes, genuine fraud is a very serious offenece, eg when invested funds disappears from collapsing finance companies, or people are conned out of their life savings.

Maybe you could point out who was defrauded in this case, and what they were defrauded out of.

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1 hour ago, JackSprat said:

Yes, genuine fraud is a very serious offenece, eg when invested funds disappears from collapsing finance companies, or people are conned out of their life savings.

Maybe you could point out who was defrauded in this case, and what they were defrauded out of.

Go and read the judgement. You clearly have no idea, you think the SFO,DIA and a High Court judge got it wrong and your right. Please don't engage me me any further on this topic, you are obviously an idiot or someone with close ties to the defendants

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3 hours ago, Newmarket said:

So fraud is nothing much in your book- each to their own but you arguments and points on this topic just entered the book of stupidity IMHO

So nobody was defrauded then?

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1 hour ago, Newmarket said:

Go and read the judgement. You clearly have no idea, you think the SFO,DIA and a High Court judge got it wrong and your right. Please don't engage me me any further on this topic, you are obviously an idiot or someone with close ties to the defendants

A la Brodie, when you can't come up with a logical argument you pull out the "you must wotk for the TAB card", or in your case, "you must have close ties to the defendants".

The SFO and Internal Affairs have a long history of getting things horribly wrong, and High Court judges, well they just interpret what our MP's give them to work with. There's a recipe for a perfect storm right there!

Incidently, I have no connection to either the TAB or the defendants. Enjoy your disengagement!

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1 hour ago, JackSprat said:

You can't lose anything you never had.

Someone stole a package out of my mailbox that I'd bought on Trademe. I never had it, but I'm pretty certain I lost it. Your argument is illogical. I suppose I should expect that when you are trying to defend reprehensible behaviour.

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27 minutes ago, Leggy said:

Someone stole a package out of my mailbox that I'd bought on Trademe. I never had it, but I'm pretty certain I lost it. Your argument is illogical. I suppose I should expect that when you are trying to defend reprehensible behaviour.

Not sure how a trade me purchase relates to Pokie deception.

The Bluegrass Trust was set up to distribute monies primarily to Racing as well as community...this was its purpose..

Prior to the website being taken down all the grants were there to see e.g. the Nelson Trot Club received $620 k in 5 years and Southland /Otago Harness clubs received big bucks even though there were no machines in those areas.

MOBrien had been 'banned' from pokie trusts after the Metro fiasco a few years earlier and must have thought he could stay one step ahead of the authorities but they were chasing hard and closing in......and they have nailed him for deception and roped in his dad and a couple of others who he used as a cover !

The $1 mill plus a year he apparently got out of it for himself in 'commissions' is probably not out of line with the level of expenses that some trusts and charitable outfits incur as expenses ......there has been much publicity about some very well respected ones in recent times having high operating expenses compared with grants.

Just last week there were 3 in the paper mentioned where rorts were disclosed.

As an Auditor in past life Ive looked into a few and currently I'm aware of one involving property where various authorities look at it and because of back log of work and unless it is an obvious Police case they aren't particularly interested fobbing our query off with .....we will consider our jurisdiction to consider this matter and whether its meet the threshold for investigation.

Pokie grants is a bit different from a Trade me parcel being stolen from a letterbox or a IRD fraud where false invoices were used for tax evasion and folk perverted the course of justice. If MOBrien had not been involved its possible Bluegrass would still be going and distributing funds to the racing industry.

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4 hours ago, Leggy said:

Someone stole a package out of my mailbox that I'd bought on Trademe. I never had it, but I'm pretty certain I lost it. Your argument is illogical. I suppose I should expect that when you are trying to defend reprehensible behaviour.

That has to be the worst comparison in the history of mankind.

Contrary to your belief that something was actually stolen in this case, none of the accused were ever charged with any theft, or misappropriation of funds.

The charges ALL related to deceiving Internal Affairs regarding the ownership of the venues, and who controlled the trust.

O'Brien's biggest mistake was pissing off people with limitless resources to pursue him. Do you honesty think they wouldn't be pursuing the money as well if there was even a hint of misappropriation of funds?

This whole case is about some pissed off beaurocrats with a score to settle. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Yes, he was well paid along the way, he'd have been a fool not to, but the big winner was Harness Racing!

 

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I see Mother Teresa got a mention, she was a thieving lying Albanian dwarf who got a sainthood.

Mother Teresa herself personally took large donations from the psychopathic Haitian dictator “Baby Doc,” publicly defending his blood-soaked rule in return. In the 1990s, fraudster Charles Keating donated $1.25 million of stolen money to the Missionaries. When asked to return the fraudulent money, Mother Teresa simply stayed silent.

I wonder what M O'Brien and his mates will get.

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19 hours ago, JackSprat said:

The charges ALL related to deceiving Internal Affairs regarding the ownership of the venues, and who controlled the trust.

You can call it fraud by deceit if you like. To me it amounts to downright elaborate thieving.

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1 hour ago, Leggy said:

You can call it fraud by deceit if you like. To me it amounts to downright elaborate thieving.

The charges all related to the administration arrangements of hotels and a trust.

If there was any "elaborate theiving" going on, I'm sure there would have been some theft charges.

The "fraud" does not relate to misappropriation of any funds, only to who was running the show.

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