Guess who’s back? Back Again? The Saudi Sheep Bribe is back – tell a friend

By   /   May 17, 2018  /   9 Comments

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…you may not remember the unbelievable clusterfuck that was the Saudi Sheep bribe fiasco, so let me remind you in detail the fully fledged horror of it all.

No. Way.

The ‘fixer’ of the Saudi Sheep bribe is trying to sue us?

This is just tumeke…

Exclusive: More Saudi sheep saga costs likely as legal action threatens
Taxpayers could fork out more over the Saudi sheep deal – with the Government now facing legal action over the troubled project.

An Auckland-based company has started legal proceedings against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) in the High Court, the Herald can reveal.

That raises the possibility of more costs related to the controversial, and still unfinished, project.

The company, Laurium Asset Management, helped put the Saudi businessman who now owns the agrihub, Hmood Al Khalaf, in touch with the National Government.

…you may not remember the unbelievable clusterfuck that was the Saudi Sheep bribe fiasco, so let me remind you in detail the fully fledged horror of it all.

After this occurred in 2013, we got this whitewash report 3 years later in 2016 that the Minister at the time, Murray MCully, kinda acted within the law in regards to a Saudi Sheep bribe. We were assured that there wasn’t anything to see here, just a Senior Minister paying an $11.5 million dollar bribe to a Saudi Businessman (Hmood Al Khalaf) in the sad hope that we can get a free trade deal with Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst Human Rights records on the planet and who is also one of the biggest funders of extremism.

They also crucify people, not figuratively, literally. They literally crucify people. This is who we want to trade with, a country that still has crucifixion on its list of execution styles.

The claim was that Prime Minister John Key had promised a Saudi Businessman (Hmood Al Khalaf) that NZ would restart live sheep exports for slaughter in Saudi Arabia. National didn’t go ahead with live sheep exports and so the Saudi Businessman threw a tantrum and somehow managed to stall NZ-Saudi Arabia free trade talks. McCully told Cabinet that if we didn’t pay him a bribe, then we could be open to a $30m counter lawsuit

 

 

So what Official Information Act revelations did we get from MFAT in 2017?

Saudi sheep deal: MFAT didn’t provide legal advice on lawsuit risk

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not provide legal advice to the government on the risk of being sued by a disgruntled Saudi Arabian businessman, documents reveal.

The admission that no legal advice on the lawsuit threat ever existed directly contradicts comments in 2015 by then-Foreign Minister Murray McCully that the ministry had taken advice on the issue.

The National government did an $11.5 million deal with Saudi businessman Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf after Cabinet was advised in February 2013 that the Al Khalaf Group was threatening to sue New Zealand for $20-$30m. Mr Al Khalaf had invested heavily in New Zealand and believed New Zealand’s 2003 ban on live exports had left him misled and out of pocket.

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The deal included using taxpayer funds to build Mr Al Khalaf a $6m agrihub farm in the Saudi desert, as well as flying in over 900 sheep and handing over $4m in cash.

The government argued that the deal saved New Zealand from the risk of being sued for a much larger amount.

However, MFAT and Mr McCully have long refused to release any legal advice it relied on in doing the deal.

In a 2015 interview on TV3’s The Nation, Mr McCully was asked repeatedly what the advice said and whether he would release it.

He replied “it’s the ministry’s advice” and “I’m not going to release the ministry’s advice”. When asked if there was any legal basis for a lawsuit, he said “the advice was that those circumstances did provide such a basis”.

Yet an Official Information Act response from MFAT “following discussion with the Chief Ombudsman” has revealed “it did not seek or provide advice on the extent of the risk of a claim in the New Zealand courts for compensation from the Al Khalaf Group against the government”.

“Effectively, the minister had misled the public,” said Labour’s David Parker.

…well, well, well. So there actually wasn’t any investigation whatsoever of McCully’s bullshit claims that we were on the hook for a $30million dollar legal case if we didn’t bribe Hmood Al Khalaf which means there was no justification whatsoever which means McCully lied to us and his own Caucus, and now we find the company who stitched this bribe together wants a bite of the cherry for ‘intellectual property’?

I mean you can’t make this up.

Thank you National Party.

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9 Comments

  1. Marc says:

    Baah, baah, yawn, would we expect anything else, thanks Nats.

  2. XRAY says:

    Reported in the Herald this morning was this;

    “The company, Laurium Asset Management, helped put the Saudi businessman who now owns the agrihub, Hmood Al Khalaf, in touch with the National Government”.

    Laurium Asset Management, who the hell are they? No idea but they are directed by Graham Leversha.

    “When in Opposition now Trade Minister David Parker released a 2011 letter from Brownrigg Agriculture – a Hawke’s Bay company that advocated on Al Khalaf’s behalf and later won a tender to set up the farm – to McCully, written on behalf of Al Khalaf and warning he could seek commercial redress if the sheep trade wasn’t resumed.

    Former National Party president Michelle Boag was copied in, as she “has been in contact with both of us in her capacity as director of Laurium”

    Boag told media she had never been a director of Laurium, nor had she been contracted by the company or paid any money from it.

    She said Leversha approached her and asked her to meet with Al Khalaf’s business partner George Assaf. When McCully agreed to hear from Assaf, Boag said she put them in touch, and that was where her involvement ended”.

    So out of this rat pile of shit, the former National Party Prez, and evergreen Nat Party activist (behind the scenes) crawls out ever so briefly into the daylight.

    What the F was going on National? Sounds very much like a money maker for all involved at our expense!

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12052426

    • Graeme Pedersen says:

      Here’s a wee bit more to add to the nationals past misdemeanors———

      this is a list researched from Newspapers
      and other media outlets including Parliament tv of what John Key and his National Govt believedwere priorities over the people of
      New Zealand.
      $260,000 Digital sign inside MBIE.
      $70,000 for a sign outside MBIE.
      $380,000 new furniture for MBIE.
      $140,000 sundeck for MBIE.
      $24,000 fridge for MBIE.
      $400 for hair straighteners for MBIE.
      $78,000 two doors for parliament.
      $363,000 for govt agencies to watch sky tv.
      $4000 for a sign for Steven Joyce opening MBIE new building.
      MBIE spent $38.9 million on external contractors and consultants
      $4000 for a sign Paula Bennetts office.
      $600,000 spent on flowers by National.
      $1200 taxi fares.
      $4000 a night in Hotels.
      $80,000 for Groser’s party in Washington
      $17 million paid to a US yacht club.
      $11 million paid to a Saudi sheep farmer.
      $30 million tax cut for Warner bros.
      $30 million tax cut for Rio Tinto,
      $6 Billion NOT paid By National in to NZ super fund as part of Govts contribution SINCE 2008
      $4 billion tax taken from New Zealands super fund.
      $200 million invested and lost by our superfund in a overseas bank
      that was under investigation for fraud before the money was invested.
      $2.3 million paid to a banker to give advice to HNZ on how to selling HNZ homes.
      Taxpayer paying for beneficiaries to live in short term motels at a cost of $500’000 million to the NZ taxpayer for 3 months
      $700,000 in legal fees fighting a compensation case over abuse that happened in state care.
      $45 million bail out media works.
      $29 million Social bond program.
      $45 million Nova pay.
      $27 million paid for a flag referendum that 67% of New Zealanders did not want.
      $1.7 Billion bail out SCF.
      $200 million lost from buying junk carbon credits.
      $6.2 million spent by National for a apartment for one in Hawaii.
      $11 million spent by National for an apartment for one in New York.
      $86 million to produce new currency that is uncounterfeitable… which has been counterfeited!
      $20 Billion NZDF
      $6.4 million spent for new BMWs for ministers
      Ever wondered what happened to asset sale money That’s despite Finance Minister Bill English promising in 2011 that all revenue from the sales would be put in a Future Investment Fund to pay for “schools, hospitals, roads, rail and public transport”. Money used from asset sales One big ticket item is our membership to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which was funded as part of this year’s Budget and came in at a cost of $144M.
      Another bank membership has also been paid for out of the fund. In 2014, the fund was used to pay $23 million for a subscription to the World Bank.
      Computer programme for ministers
      Some of the cash was also splashed on the Prime Minister and Cabinet with investment into a document management project, Cabinet, which received $2.6M in 2012 and a further $1.8M in 2014 — a total of $4.4M.
      Doing up Government House
      In all, $500,000 was also allocated to the Prime Minister and Cabinet to be spent on a new Visitor Centre at Government House in 2012.
      This is just a small part of the total failure of this National Govt to its responsibilities to the citizens of New Zealand and would be called
      corruption in other countries

  3. Steve King says:

    How can we thank Muzza?

  4. mosa says:

    My god ! Key and his cabal have got away with one of the biggest heists in recent memory and they ” knighted him for it ” and i bet there is so much more that is not on this list.

    Other countries deal with this at the point of a gun , handcuffs and massive prison sentences with ‘ hard labour ” for misappropriating the peoples hard earned money.

    This country is an utter joke and failure and ripe for the rape of people like Key and his entourage of corrupt criminals lining their own pockets at the expense of exploited Kiwis.

    There is no justice.

  5. Pete says:

    Do you reckon this means that McCully will miss out his award on the Queen’s Birthday list and have to wait until the New Years one?

    • Wensleydale says:

      He’ll get something. They all look after each other. The National Party is like a pirate ship, and they sail in and out of the Beehive every so often, helping themselves to the family silver and anything else that isn’t nailed down. Despite screeds of evidence demonstrating they’re little more than a pack of slavering brigands — a malignant coven of liars and thieves whose track record is an embarrassing litany of failure — people still vote for them. A political party whose primary exports are misery and injustice, and they keep getting elected. I will never get my head around that if I live to be 100.