LawFuel – legal Announcement Service – Owen Glenn’s evidence had been ‘coached’ by his lawyer, Dr Geoff Harley, who had acted against him in the wine box enquiry, Winston Peters said during the Privileges Committee hearing last night.
He said Dr Harley’s “DNA and Blood” are all over the evidence.
Dr Harley is a former Russell McVeagh partner and now practices as a tax barrister.
He claimed the evidence demonstrated an ongoing conspiracy against him going back to the winebox case and was an example of his political enemies out to destroy him.
The Winebox papers detailed a complex Cook Islands tax scheme used by prominent New Zealand businessmen to reduce tax liabilities. The hearings ran for almost three years.
“This is an attempt to undo the people’s will, bring down a government, then govern alone. My enemies and an elite media have surely proven that.”
Winston Peters’ appearance before the Privilege Committee saw him attack Owen Glenn’s evidence along with the explanations given as to the narrow issue of whether he knew about the $100,000 payment made to Peter’s lawyer Brian Henry.
The key conversation occurred on 14 December when Mr Glenn said he called Winston Peters and the couple discussed the question of a donation. The call was then almost immediately followed by an email from Brian Henry referring to the call and to “his client”.
Winston Peters’ accepted that the “client” must have been himself and he conceded that the discussion could have occurred then. His evidence saw him prevaricate and struggle to find an answer to the issue of the donation issue on that date, as he claimed he did not know anything about the donation until July 2008 when Brian Henry told him about it.
“I don’t have a memory of that, but if you look at it that is the only logical conclusion one can come to — that he asked for the details and that’s why it was mentioned in the email.”
He similarly said there had been no thanking of Mr Glenn at the Karaka sales, as Owen Glenn testified, and that he would not have done such a thing over a large lunch table with 14 others.
Mr Peters laid considerable store by what “professional people” and “business people” did and what amounted to good manners, such as writing to acknowledge a gift rather than saying a casual ‘thank you’.
Mr Peters told the committee, again, that there had been no donation to his New Zealand First Party or to him personally.
“The answer than was no, and the answer is still no,” he said.
He has already stood down from his portfolios of foreign affairs, racing and associate senior citizens because of a Serious Fraud Office inquiry into other donations to NZ First.