Category: National Broadband Network

The Turnbulls and the shares in Leighton Holdings’ parent company, Hochtief AG……

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.
Photo courtesy of ABC News and ABC 7.30 - 9/4/13
Photo courtesy of ABC News and ABC 7.30 – 9/4/13

With the news that Leighton Holdings is under a major Federal investigation over approximately $50 million worth of kickbacks and other forms of corruption within Indonesia and the Middle East, some serious questions need to be asked of The Honourable Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy, in relation to their involvement with that particular company over the past few years.

As I reported earlier this year, Mr and Mrs Turnbull have previously invested in Hochtief AG (HOTG.DE), which is the majority (55%) shareholder  of Leighton Holdings. These shares were reportedly sold in February 2012 by The Turnbulls, about roughly the time that corruption allegations at Leighton Holdings first started coming to light.  Coincidentally, the sale of these shares wasn’t reported by Mr Turnbull to the House of Representatives Pecuniary Interests Register, which sitting MPs and their immediate family are required to report changes in their financial interests to, within a 28 day period.  Strangely enough, Mr Turnbull let this “administrative error” lie for close to 18 months, until I pressured him on his family’s investments in the NBN contractor and its $3.1 Billion involvement in the project earlier this year. Over the course of next five months after the alleged sale, Hochtief AG proceeded to loose over a third of its value on the German Xetra stock exchange, according to Reuters.

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Screenshot of Mr Turnbull’s Pecuniary Interest Statement for the 43rd Parliament – 3rd of June 2013 submission

Needless to say, given how business-savvy the entire Turnbull family have been over the past few decades, it struck me at the time I wrote my previous articles as being rather strange that they would suddenly want to divest themselves of their shares in this company, just as they were starting to be awarded a series of major infrastructure projects via their majority-owned local subsidiary.  Due to the events of this morning and the past week however, I’ve now got more questions than answers in relation to the sale of these shares than what I had previously.

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The Turnbulls and an investment in the NBN…..

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

If there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze me, it’s that both state and federal politicians don’t think that people check their pecuniary interests, policy statements and voting records, then contrast them against the business interests that said politicians and their families hold.

Take The Honourable Shadow Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy, for example.

Photo courtesy of ABC News and ABC 7.30 - 9/4/13
Photo courtesy of ABC News and ABC 7.30 – 9/4/13

As shown within Mr Turnbull’s latest register of interests, Mrs Turnbull has owned a diverse portfolio of shares in companies such as Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and currently Hochtief AG (HOTG.DE), both of which hold significant interests in the rollout of the National Broadband Network.  Utilising only their German stockmarket codes, most people wouldn’t be able to identify those two particular entries on Page 8 in Mr Turnbull’s submission, unless they knew what they were looking for.

NOTE  – “Member’s Interests” for Malcolm Turnbull – 2/6/2013 – Download Here

As a lot of IT commentators within Australia are aware, Siemens owns a half share of Nokia Siemens Networks, which is one of the NBN’s primary suppliers of optical transmission equipment. While their initial contract was only $10 million back in 2010, this project is expected to be worth over $400 million over the next 10 years. Coincidentally, Siemens also owns Silcar Communications in equal joint partnership with Theiss Australia, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings, which in turn is majority owned by Hochtief AG. Given that Silcar has been selected as a primary constructor of the NBN for New South Wales, the A.C.T. and Queensland with an expected return of over $1.1 billion between June 2011 and June 2015, the rollout of the NBN would offer a major source of work to the associated consortiums throughout this period.

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