Sympathetic Stupid

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hilliard and Alberici

The 7:30 Report last night had a long interview with Poor Roy Hilliard, the man who apparently dumped Steve Vizard in the shit. But did he?

The motives throughout this are murky, but ultimately pretty base.

There's no doubt Hilliard fiddled the books. He says it was cos Vizard wanted it, this sounds plausible. Rich people want to minimise tax, some are more aggressive than others, some break the law, some even get caught. Vizard's denied it, but let's assume that it's true.

Hilliard was getting a good cut of this untaxed cash, by his own admission. He had to spend it on consumables because he couldn't purchase assets with it, cos people might get curious.

Did he also steal money as Vizard asserts? Why would he bite the hand that fed him? How about cos he didn't think Vizard had the guts to prosecute and risk all his own dodgy activities being dragged out? Sounds like a fair assumption; there's no honour among thieves. I reckon Hilliard probably did take liberties with Vizard's "stash of cash".

Why else would Vizard bring the charges? Especially knowing that Hilliard would flail wildly on the way down and probably dig up some rotting refuse better off deep underground?

How about this. Hilliard talked last night about a tax audit; "There was some suggestion something like that was in the offing". Vizard is connected, he knows all the right people. Doubtless, if there was a poo storm heading for Toorak, he would have known.

So is it possible that Vizard was trying to muddy the waters? If it was all going to come out anyway, he desperately needed a good scapegoat. Who better than his bookkeeper? He couldn't be expected to know everything about what Hilliard was doing; that's why he hired him. So it's vaguely plausible that it was all Hilliard's fault?

(Similar to Skilling and Lay's defence at Enron that it was all Fastow's fault, as the CFO. They didn't know what he was doing. Yeah, right.)

The missing man in all this is Greg Lay. He's the one who saved Vizard from jail by refusing to sign his witness statement. (Why is that even possible?) He was probably another candidate for scapegoat, but he's remained loyal so doesn't get fucked up.

There's another theory. Conspiracy central.

Maybe Hilliard and Lay are both doing exactly what Vizard wants.

Where is the other $2.5m? Maybe the whole point of this case was that the waters would be muddied, Hilliard would get a slap on the wrist in exchange for the $2.5m, stashed in a location only he knows. Vizard could have sent him down if he'd testified; but then he would have incriminated himself.

In the worst case, everyone testifies against everyone else, they all go to jail, all the money disappears.

But this is probably the best possible case. Vizard and Hilliard both get a slap on the wrist, Lay gets no penalty. There's still plenty of money floating around for them all to play with.