Macarthur Coals Ken Talbot arraigned in Queensland bribery scandaladmin
Queensland, Australia, coal mogul Ken Talbot Monday was arranged in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 35 counts of allegedly making payments to a government minister.
The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission claims Macarthur Coal Managing Director Talbot paid former Queensland Cabinet Minister Gordon Nuttall nearly A$300,000 over three years. Talbot’s solicitor told the court Monday that Talbot would plead not guilty to the charges.
The payments were made in 34 monthly installments of A$8333.33 and a one-time sum of $16,666.66. Nuttall, who has subsequently resigned from Queensland’s Parliament, had originally claimed that the money was a 2001 loan from Talbot. Nuttall has been charged with 35 counts of allegedly receiving secret commissions.
The Macarthur Coal board said it has full confidence in Talbot, who has taken a leave of absence. Chairman Keith De Lacey said last November than the investigation would not disrupt the company’s operations.
During the company’s annual general meeting last November, De Lacey declared, ”We are absolutely certain there has been no inappropriate benefit or favor from the government in any of Macarthur Coal’s operations.” However, De Lacey admitted that the loan scandal did have an adverse short-term impact on the company.
Macarthur Coal CFO Nicole Hollows, 35, is now acting chief executive of the A$800-million coal company. She is also Australia’s top woman mining executive.
In addition to Macarthur Coal, Talbot Group Holdings also owns investments in uranium and gold. Ken Talbot was ranked 38th in 2006 in Forbes Magazine’s 40 Richest Men.