Former NSW ministers Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid, and his son Moses Obeid guilty of conspiracy over coal exploration

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Former NSW Labor minister Eddie Obeid is set to return to jail after being found guilty of being part of a conspiracy related to a coal exploration licence which led to a $30 million windfall for his family.

The 77-year-old, his son Moses Obeid, 52, and fellow former minister Ian Macdonald, 72, were found guilty on Monday of conspiring for Macdonald to engage in misconduct as a minister between 2007 and 2009.

The misconduct related to the then mining minister’s actions in establishing and granting a coal exploration licence over the Obeids’ family property at Mount Penny, in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee, for the family’s financial benefit.

After a marathon judge-alone trial in the NSW Supreme Court, Justice Elizabeth Fullerton on Monday found the trio guilty of the charge.

The three accused and, at times, more than 450 other people watched online as the judge delivered her verdicts and a summary of her judgment.

Eddie Obeid, Moses Obeid and Ian Macdonald conspired over a coal exploration licence giving the Obeids a $30 million windfall. Credit: AAP

On Thursday, she will hear crown applications for the men’s bail to be revoked before their sentence hearing in September.

The judge was satisfied that five of the eight alleged acts of misconduct by Macdonald had been established and that the Obeids were in a conspiracy with him.

The people of NSW expected their elected officials to act conscientiously but Macdonald and Obeid, an MP at the time, had failed to so act, she said.

Legal battles

Eddie Obeid was released on parole in December 2019, after serving three years for misconduct in public office.

He was jailed for five years in December 2016 after being found guilty of lobbying a public servant to secure lease renewals for two lucrative Circular Quay businesses in 2008 without revealing his family’s financial interests in the outlets.

Macdonald and former union boss John Maitland are facing a retrial after being convicted and jailed in 2017 over the awarding of a mining licence in 2008 to a company chaired by Maitland.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in 2019 found the jury was not properly directed and ordered a retrial.

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