Rachael Osman-Chin, a Sydney freelance journalist, who was in court for Rodney Adler’s sentencing today and filed this for Crikey:

Rodney Adler was calm and sat silently with his hands clasped as he was sentenced to a maximum of four and half years in prison, with a non-parole period of two and a half years this morning.

Justice John Dunford sentenced Adler to two years and six months n two counts of giving out false information when he told an Australian Financial Review journalist that he’d used his own money to buy shares when he’d actually used HIH money.

The disgraced con-man was also sentenced to three years, commencing 14 October 2006, for failing to tell the truth to the HIH board about he’d convinced Ray Williams to approve a loan of $2 million for an investment vehicle, Business Thinking Systems.

And he was handed a further 12 month sentence for lying to Ray Williams over the loan to Business Thinking Systems.

The earliest date on which Mr Adler will be released is 13th October 2007 and his maximum sentence if 4.5 years.

Adler, drank a whole cup of water before the judge handed down his sentence but remained calm as it was read out.

Justice John Dunford, who was this morning delivering the final sentence of career, said: “The offences are serious and demonstrate and appalling lack of corporate morality.”

He said Adler’s remarks describing his lies as “stupid errors of judgment “suggest to me that although he accepts that his conduct is unacceptable to others he does not really acknowledge to himself the full extent of his wrongfulness in the business sense.”

“They were not stupid errors of judgment but deliberate lies,” Justice Dunford said, “The amount of money fraudulently obtained from the company ($2 million) was large.”

One creditor, a Sydney businessman who had Alder as a landlord, Frank Negad, said outside court.

“I’ve been waiting for today for ten years and I’m on the pension now. When I was down and out he kicked me down further.”

Peter Fray

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