An editorial in The Herald today keeps the pressure on Key – PM to blame for sloppy trust affair
When the Prime Minister’s personal lawyer approached him about a report in the Herald that Inland Revenue was changing its attitude to foreign trust funds, John Key says he told him to “go and see the [revenue] minister”.
Yes, that is what he claims. His extensive record of lying doesn’t do him any favours though.
He should not have said anything of that kind. He should have given this message to Ken Whitney: “You are my lawyer. I’d rather you didn’t approach anyone in the Government about issues of public policy. Surely somebody else in the industry can do it.”
But the more serious problem is that he should not have entertained this approach from his lawyer. A Prime Minister needs to keep his personal wealth and investments well away from his public responsibilities. Mr Whitney did his client no favours by bringing this issue to him, even if none of Mr Key’s wealth would be in a foreign trust administered here.
Meanwhile (ex) lawyer Whitney can’t be happy to see his dirty laundry dragged out into the sunlight – John Key’s lawyer criticised for sham trust
John Key’s lawyer, Ken Whitney, was criticised by the High Court after creating a sham trust for a bankrupt property developer then failing to disclose it to authorities probing his client’s insolvency.
When asked during cross-examination if he had concerns around setting up structures to allow a bankrupt to continue in business, Mr Whitney told the court: “No, not particularly. It’s a common thing for people to do. It may not be morally as white as it could be but it’s normal practice.”
Oh dear. So, sloppy and not quite moral. So much for Key’s claim “I don’t deal with people unless they’re highly ethical and they do things well”. Nice to know that Key doesn’t hold a grudge against Whitney though. Very
condescending decent of him.