“Adler sent to his room for 2½ years” – is the unusually tabloid headline splashed across the Fin Review .
Not surprisingly, coverage of Adler’s sentence has dominated much of
today’s papers with photos of the convicted businessman on the front of
The Australian , the Fin , The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald .

In the Fin Review ,
Trevor Sykes says “the real crime of Rodney Adler is that he is
delusional. He still thinks that he is an honest businessman and
a smart investor despite a mountain of evidence that he is
neither.” And even after he pleaded guilty, Adler was still
trying to talk his way out of his crimes. In Chanticleer, John
Durie says that Adler’s sentence was a great success for ASIC –
considering the limited charges against him – and was on balance
probably correct. However, Durie also says the sentence “should
spur ASIC to chance its arm some more, even it its admirable litigation
success rate may slip a bit”. And the Fin’s editorial notes that
a director’s duty to the company and its shareholders lies at the heart
of our system of private enterprise – as such it was appropriate that
Adler should feel the full weight of the law for flagrantly
disregarding that duty.

Veteran Herald Sun business commentator Terry McCrann
says Adler “is no criminal mastermind” but rather a foolish boy who
never grew up. Adler, says McCrann, inherited a dog of a company
when is father Larry dropped dead propelling the young Adler into the
hot seat without the necessary training in playing entrepreneurial
games. “Arguably, he has been treated rather harshly in the
sentencing. Whether compared with either white collar or ‘normal’
crime,” says McCrann.

The SMH ’s Elizabeth Knight
comments on the difficult position ASIC faces in sentencing
white-collar criminals. The general public perception is that
white-collar crooks don’t pay as dearly for their multimillion-dollar
crimes, as their blue-collar brothers, says Knight, but in ASIC’s
defence “getting a conviction for complex commercial crimes is
extremely difficult, and yesterday’s sentence reflects this,” says

Meanwhile, The Australian ’s Robert Gottliebsen says the Adler sentence
raises dangers for both business people and journalists (and even
politicians) considering two of the offences he was jailed for
concerned “off-the-record” statements made to an AFR journalist, which
was not protected by the journalistic oath.

And on Wall Street on Thursday US stocks fell to their lowest levels in five-and-a-half months, on
concerns that the economy might be faltering, reports Reuters.

Peter Fray

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