Thursday, September 23, 2010

That's What Friends Are For

Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for

In good times, in bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
Oh, that's what friends are for

Dionne Warwick

"TRICOM boss Lance Rosenberg called on character evidence from the top ranks of the business world, including his 'close personal friend', Westfield managing director Steven Lowy, as he battled a 4-year ban from corporate life. 'I find Mr Rosenberg to be a gentleman of high integrity, intelligence and enthusiasm', Mr Lowy said in his character reference. Mr Rosenberg also received glowing testimonials to his honesty from Investec Bank executive Geoff Levy, Sydney QC Malcolm Holmes, former Mallesons partner David Fairlie and leading tax lawyer Mark Leibler... Mr Lowy, the son of Australia's richest man, Frank Lowy, was the most high-profile figure to provide a character reference. Mr Lowy told the Australian Securities & Investments Commission [ASIC] he had known Mr Rosenberg for 27 years... 'We have a close personal friendship, communicate frequently, and currently sit together on the board of a charitable organisation, United Israel Appeal' [UIA]... Geoff Levy, the former chief executive of South African investment bank Investec's Australian arm, said he had 'interacted in business with Mr Rosenberg for some 20 years'... Mr Leibler, senior partner at Melbourne law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler and one of Australia's best tax lawyers, said he had known Mr Rosenberg 'for approximately 5 years'. The Leibler family super fund had used Tricom as its sharebroker, while Mr Rosenberg was a client of Arnold Bloch Leibler, he said... " (Lowy's role in defence, Ben Butler, The Age, 21/9/10)

Did I hear United Israel Appeal? Yes, Lance isn't the only cause that has our friends rallying around:

Lance Rosenberg and Steven Lowy sit together on the board of the UIA. Frank Lowy is 'Life Governor' of the NSW UIA Executive. Mark Leibler (National Chair of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council) is a former chair of the UIA's World Board of Trustees. And, while Geoff Levy, deputy chair of Investec, may not be directly connected with the UIA, Investec's chairman, David Gonski, is a member of the UIA's 'extended executive' (as well as being on the board of Lowy's Westfield Group).

And what exactly is the UIA? Nothing less than the "central fundraising organisation for Israel throughout the world." ( And blow me down if it isn't a tax-exempt charity. Work that one out.

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