OneTel collapses as Jonar predicted

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Lachlan Murdoch OneTel

Despite OneTel being backed by the Murdoch and Packer empires, Jonar Nader cautioned his rich mates to stay away from the company. Jonar’s worst fears came true. No-one could believe him when he said that the company was doomed. It was backed by the biggest names. Here he is asked to comment about the company’s demise. Further below is a transcript of the video.

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Here is the transcript:

Naomi Robson: A story that Packer and Murdoch media empires won’t tell that young Lachlan and James have lost Aussie battlers a fortune.

Jonar Nader: You can join forces all you like but not when you then have to go to some poor pensioner somewhere and say, ‘Hey guys, how would you like to buy a few pieces of paper?’

Naomi Robson: How do so called whiz kids got sucked in by the old school tie. Hello. I’m Naomi Robson. The first of One.Tel collapse and the Murdoch and Packer families won’t like this story and you won’t read about it in the Murdoch press or see it on the Packer television network. James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch have been pointing the finger at one One.Tel whiz kids, Jodee Rich and Brad Keeling and crying foul. They claimed they’ve been profoundly misled but that’s a little consolation to the tens of thousands of Aussie battlers who lost their money when the telephone company collapsed.

As Norman Bayman reports, it may be convenient but it’s not that easy to shift the blame.

Norman Bayman: The elite Cranbrook Boy School is a who’s who of whose privilege in Australia. The school in Sydney is exclusive eastern suburbs fosters networks of power and influence. It’s not just a case of what you know but who you can get to know. And when it comes to the rich list, Cranbrook is at the top of the class. Three former students who fit the criteria on every count are James Packer, son of Kerry, media and gambling magnet, Rodney Adler, son of the late Larry Adler, founder of insurance company, FAI, and Jody Rich, son of Steven Rich, founder of travel group, Travel Land. Jodee Rich is the co-founder of One.Tel.

Male 1: We had Rodney Adler. His name has been quite prominent of late. He and Jodee Rich and James all – all knew each other through what’s called the Cranbrook Circle A all mixed in that Sydney eastern suburb social click.

Norman Bayman: Jon Jury is from the Fairfax own Financial Review.

Male 1: Through that friendship, I think Jodee was able to convince James of what a great idea he had and then James and Lachlan obviously saw a lot of each other and that was connect – and that was – and that through those three together.

Norman Bayman: Throw in another champ, Lachlan Murdoch, he spent his schooling years overseas but any friend of James Packer with a name Murdoch has an open invitation to the exclusive boys club.

Male 2: I think if you don’t live here, you just can’t be out.

Norman Bayman: These young movers and shakers are the key players in One.Tel, the telephone company that hit the wall and a big slice of $1 billion is at stake.

Packer and Murdoch are not the biggest losers. News Limited and Publishing and Broadcasting, are publicly-owned companies. Tens of thousands of Australian moms and dads, many having invested in superannuation funds backing the Packer-Murdoch names are the people who will feel the pinch. And also, people who directly invested into One.Tel.

Male 1: Well, moms and dads shareholders are clearly the big losers, people who followed the name at the start. They don’t – they don’t have the billions of dollars behind them to – to compensate for loses like these.

Norman Bayman: Jodee Rich was a hunted man today. His mansion was staked out and the big fingers of James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch were being pointed directly at him.

The word misled was becoming a cliché in the Murdoch press and on Packer television but others wouldn’t buy it.

Jonar Nader: They did achieve what they wanted to achieve. Precisely, they got the share price from nothing to nothing. I mean, what more brilliant a success do you want than that?

Norman Bayman: Jonar Nader is a finance expert and author.

Jonar Nader: What I care is that somewhere along the line, your grandmother and mine put their last little few cents of saving in it on the back of wow, the brand. We’ve got Packer and Murdoch behind it. What better brand name can you want in a marketplace and what’s your grandmother and mine going to do? They’re going to be ripped off. That’s what they’re going to do.

Norman Bayman: There’s no doubt that Packer and Murdoch names entice investors to back One.Tel.

Male 3: Yes, yes, definitely.

Male 4: Why is that?

Male 5: Well, I presumed with the resource that they have that they would research a company properly.

Male 7: But very surprising that two so well-connected people could make the mistakes. It just goes to show that even the – even the big boys can lose it like the average punters .

Norman Bayman: Jodee Rich and Brad Keeling have a lot to answer for. But young Packer and Murdoch also face scrutiny.

Male 1: Well, they’re obviously – they’d be liable to any – any claims that people might make against the company. And – and there would be claims that investors may have made on the basis of their involvement in the company or on the basis of a negligence claim. That’s a – that’s I must say, a big ask at this stage of the game but potentially is.

Norman Bayman: It’s hard to imagine James and Lachlan’s fathers will be impressed.

Male 1: In the case of the Murdoch family, that’s a bit of a question mark over who’s going to replace Rupert, the Lachlan is seen as the favourite at the moment. And clearly, people are going to sort of keep remembering this One.Tel disaster. And – and likewise, James was very much the – the new technology champion in his family and his father was – was always the skeptic. And so, he’s obviously going to have to do a bit of talking with his father I would think to – to prove that new technology is actually the money spender he – he says it is.

Naomi Robson: Norman Bayman reporting there. Now, to Australia’s biggest home builder, Henley Home.

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