ASIC’s Jeff Lucy probably won’t care if
he doesn’t pick the Melbourne Cup winner today – he should still be in a state
of euphoric relief after getting up multiple convictions against door-to-door
burglar alarm salesman Brad Cooper.

ASIC backed the bribee – former HIH
chief investments officer Bill Howard – against the briber, Cooper, but it
looks like it might have been a close run thing given the usual problems of
relying on the evidence of an admitted crook. The Smage’s Anne Lampe sums it up
nicely here.

It remains one for the ethicists to
argue which might be the greater crime – offering or accepting a bribe – but
the score card in this case reads a three-year suspended sentence and plenty of
help with legal fees et al for Howard while Cooper cops a yet-to-be-determined
number of years behind bars.

Howard appears to have been a cheap
trick for Cooper. Bribes of $124,000 yielded payments of $6.7 million from the
HIH lolly jar. Try getting a return like that at Flemington.

It is interesting though to compare ASIC’s Cooper action with the
Vizard case. Against the Sydney
spiv, ASIC was happy to go in for a very long and expensive criminal
resting pretty much entirely on the word of a crook. Against Vizard
criminal charges were all too hard and there was no risk of anything
for Steve. So it goes.

loves the bonfire of a vanity – don’t we all – and theDaily Telegraphwent
large with the winning headline, From Balmoral to Silverwater. Translated for
interstaters, that’s Cooper’s harbourside suburb to a jail.

Cooper, one-time motivational speaker
under Rodney Adler’s patronage, remains a sideshow at the HIH circus. His case
just demonstrated how dysfunctional the company had become. Again, it’s left to
the ethicists to ponder how the unseemly largesse at the top might have helped
create a culture where bribery and corruption could flourish, but as far as how
the company failed… well, the DPP still has other briefs under consideration.