Always the modest one: “I never owned the account, I never owned the shares,” Richo has told ASIC, the Tax Office and anyone else who asked about the accounts his friend Rene Rivkin set up for him in the 1990s at EBC Zurich and Bank Leumi’s Swiss branch that housed proceeds from Offset Alpine shares.
That must be some of the philanthropic support his AO citation refers to. He was doing it for others. Yes he did send handwritten instructions to Bank Leumi to authorise payments from the accounts, including $1 million that he ordered Leumi to transfer to a mysterious Beirut account in December 1994. But he was just doing what Rivkin told him to.
And the amounts he personally withdrew from Leumi to fund European vacations? Just a little holiday gift from Rene to boost tourism.
That was all in the past last October as Anthony Albanese, Bob Carr, Stephen Conroy and Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk led a host of Labor luminaries in ritual obeisance at Richo’s 70th birthday party at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Truly vomitous. Apparently there was singing.
Scott Morrison was reported to be unable to come because of overseas commitments, but in pictures of the event there he was, an undeclared fan. It always helps having the PM whispering in the ear of the Australia Council in support of your gong.
Just days later Richo was sharing his passion for gymnastics, telling Sky News of the federal election, “For the first time in my life I voted one Liberal,” only to clarify on Twitter that what this statement clearly meant was that he voted number two for the Libs’ David Sharma in Wentworth after Labor’s Tim Murray.