Australia’s former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who covered-up a corruption scandal at the top of the country’s corporate regulator, has been appointed to a senior role with notorious global investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The appointment is remarkable because Goldman Sachs is the former long-time employer of James Shipton – the corporate regulator boss whose alleged corruption Frydenberg covered-up.
Frydenberg, the former deputy leader of the Liberal Party, has been appointed as “senior regional advisor for the Asia Pacific”, reportsThe Australian Financial Review, citing a statement from Goldman Sachs.
Frydenberg lost his inner Melbourne seat of Kooyong in May’s federal election, in a major swing against him.
As previously revealed by The Klaxon, Frydenberg covered-up the findings of the “inquiry” into a major corruption scandal at the top of corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
In late 2020 it emerged ASIC chair Shipton – a Federal Coalition Government appointee – had charged taxpayers $118,000 for personal “tax advice”, which was on top of the remuneration cap set by law.
Frydenberg as Treasurer announced an “inquiry”.
On January 29 last year, Frydenberg announced the inquiry had cleared Shipton of any wrongdoing.
This was false.
On making the announcement Frydenberg released a version of the inquiry’s final report.
As revealed by The Klaxon, three of the report’s four key findings – all relating to Shipton – had been secretly deleted from the document.
Frydenberg’s cover up of the ASIC corruption scandal, benefiting ex Goldman Sachs executive James Shipton. Source: The Klaxon
(The only finding left in related to an issue where no wrongdoing was found to have occurred.)
Despite Frydenberg claiming Shipton had engaged in no wrongdoing, he simultaneously announced that Shipton would be departing as ASIC chair, little over half-way through his five-year term.
Then Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison appointed Shipton as ASIC chair in November 2017.
Shipton had previously held senior roles with Goldman Sachs, including as a managing director of its “Asian Executive Office” and, from 2009 to 2013, as head of “Government & Regulatory Affairs” for Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong.
During that time Goldman Sachs became embroiled in one of history’s biggest scandals, the disappearance of billions of dollars from 1MDB, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Shipton has said he was not connected to the scandal.
Goldman Sachs has been involved in multiple corruption scandals around the world and was in 2009 famously nicknamed the “great vampire squid” over its role in the Global Financial Crisis.
“We are fortunate to bring to Goldman Sachs a person of Josh’s deep public and private sector experience, connectivity, and insight,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement today.
“His significant understanding of geopolitical and economic issues will bring considerable value to our clients across the region and beyond,” said Goldman Sachs “President for Asia Pacific Ex-Japan”, Kevin Sneaderis.
Frydenberg was the architect of the JobKeeper Covid-19 stimulus program, which has been called one of the biggest of wastes of money in Australia’s history, with at least $38 billion dollars of taxpayer funds to companies that didn’t need it.
In April, four weeks out from the Federal Election, it emerged Frydenberg was running political advertisements featuring charity bosses spruiking his reelection.
In laws heavily endorsed by Frydenberg, it is illegal for charity’s to advocate for politicians or political parties.
One of the charity bosses was Karen Hayes, the then CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria.
The scandal drew the spotlight on Guide Dogs Victoria, revealing major concerns, including that it delivered just 35 guide dogs in the 2020-21 financial year, earning revenue of $22.3m but spending just $1.99m supplying dogs.
Ex ASIC chair James Shipton. Source: Supplied
As revealed by The Klaxon, the total services the charity is providing – both “dog-related” and “non dog-related” – has crashed 25 per cent in the past decade, while its taxpayer funding has surged four-fold.
It was also revealed Guide Dogs Victoria’s “capital fundraising” boss Paul Wheelton personally made over $87,000 in donations to the Liberal Party before the Federal Coalition gave millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to the charity – much of it under Frydenberg.
On election night, Frydenberg made a “shout out” to Hayes who he said was “one of the best CEOs in Australia”.
How The Klaxon broke the story. Source: The Klaxon
Hayes “resigned” as Guide Dogs Victoria CEO just over a week later. She had been in the role since 2011.
Frydenberg was elected to Federal Parliament, in the seat of Kooyong, in 2010.
The Federal Coalition won power in 2013 and Frydenberg held a string of top government positions including Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Energy and the Environment, and, from August 2018, Federal Treasurer.
Frydenberg’s Coalition Government is widely considered to have been one of the most corrupt, if not the most corrupt, in Australian history.
Since 2012, no other OECD country fell faster into corruption according to Transparency International, one of the world’s most respected corruption monitors.
Australia tied with authoritarian Hungary as having fallen the fastest down into corruption over the past decade, Transparency International found.
Frydenberg’s Federal Coalition Government, led by Scott Morrison, promised to implement a National Integrity Commission before the 2019 federal election but never did so.
This week it emerged Morrison had said he and the fellow worshippers at his Pentecostal church “don’t trust in governments” and “don’t trust in the United Nations”, in statements that have been widely condemned.
Frydenberg’s Federal Coalition voted against a banking royal commission 27 times, before it was forced forced to launch one in late 2017 following an internal party revolt led by then Nationals senator John Williams.
The inquiry uncovered rampant illegality and widespread abuse of customers and the public by many of the nation’s banks and major financial institutions.
Frydenberg is presented with the banking royal commission findings. Source: ABC
According to respected political analyst group They Vote For You, while in parliament Frydenberg voted “consistently against”; a “fast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy”; “ending illegal logging”,; “removing children from immigration detention”; “increasing the diversity of media ownership”; “increasing political transparency” and against “considering legislation to create a federal anti-corruption commission”.
Frydenberg also “voted consistently against”, “Federal action on animal & plant extinctions”.
This week a state of the environment report was released which found at least 19 Australian ecosystems are showing signs of collapse or near collapse, with major changes over the past five years.
The report was completed by scientists last year but was not released by Frydenberg’s Coalition Government.
They Vote For You records that Frydenberg “voted consistently for”: “increasing or removing the Government debt limit”” “increasing the cost of humanities degrees”; “putting welfare payments onto cashless debit cards (or indue cards)”; and “reducing the corporate tax rate”.
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