A mysterious $200, 000 donation to the Free Enterprise Foundation (FEF), an associated entity of the Liberal Party facing scrutiny by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), can be traced to links with Australian businessman, philanthropist and television pioneer, Reg Grundy.
Grundy, who was behind countless landmarks in Australian television drama and game shows, including Neighbours, Prisoner, Wheel of Fortune and Sale of the Century, has links to both the company name and business address given for the mystery donor.
While the links do not establish with certainty that Grundy was personally responsible for making the donation, they do raise potential avenues of inquiry for pursuing the identity of the donor.
Fairfax Media leads today with a front page story, “Revealed: Monte Carlo address of donor linked to Liberal Party fund”, questioning the identity of the donor behind the equal largest contribution to the FEF in the last reporting year .
The “Associated Entity Disclosure Return” for the FEF for the year 2012-13 reveals that a $200,000 donation was made by “Akira Investments Ltd” with the address of “Les Caravelles, 25 Blvd Albert 1er, Monaco” (sic).
Fairfax journalists Sean Nicholls and Kate McClymont report that:
Regulatory authorities in Monaco say there is no record of its existence. “The company Akira Investments is unknown to our various registers,” a government spokeswoman told Fairfax Media.
The FEF and the Liberal Party had not responded to Fairfax’s requests for information concerning the donor, while the AEC were not able to assist as no disclosure had been made by Akira. The AEC told Fairfax that lack of international jurisdiction left it powerless to pursue the mystery donor.
While Akira Investments may not be registered in Monaco, there are a number of companies that are, or have previously been, known by that name in other jurisdictions.
One instance is a company located in the Cayman Islands, host to a renowned shipping registry. A search of Equasis, a registry of boats and yachts, indicates that Akira Investments Ltd is registered to an address in George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
In 2008, Akira Investments was stated to be the owner of the super yacht “Boadicea”, then widely reported as belonging to Grundy, prior to it being sold in 2009, with it subsequently taking on the name “Reborn”. A whole chapter of Grundy’s memoirs, “Reg Grundy”, released in 2010, was devoted to “Boadicea”.
Akira Investments’ association with “Boadicea” is further detailed in the client list of the US based Center for Individual and Organizational Effectiveness. The organisation lists “Nigel Burgess London/Akira Investments/MY Boadicea” as a client for “Mega-Yacht Management / Investments” services in the past.
(Nigel Burgess founded the renowned yacht brokerage firm, Burgess, which arranges the sale, lease and rental of yachts. The firm was responsible for leasing “Boadicea”, and the site hosts an expansive profile of the super yacht [Pdf: 4.2MB]).
Then there is RG Concepts SAM (SAM: Société Anonyme Monégasque; a limited liability company in Monaco); the company behind a website devoted to”The Wildlife of Reg Grundy“.
The website gives “25 Boulevard Albert 1er Monte Carlo 98000, Monaco” as the business address for RG Concepts in the terms and conditions page on the site.
This Monaco address is identical to the one given for Akira Investments in the FEF disclosure to the AEC. As the picture accompanying the Fairfax story shows, and the story reports, the address occupies a:
dress circle position overlooking Port Hercules – a popular place for the world’s mega rich to park their superyachts when visiting the Cote D’Azur.
In 2013, the Business Review Weekly (BRW) estimated Grundy’s wealth at $770 million, ranking him at 53 in their Rich 200 List. Earlier that year, BRW reported that he and his wife, Joy Chambers, were “downsizing”, selling their Bermuda home and a sizeable art collection, for a total estimated worth of $130 million.