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Alan Bond blames his former Managing Director, the late Peter Beckwith, for the Corporation's problems; will Bond bounce back?

RICHARD PALFREYMAN: In 1988, former high-flying entrepreneur, Alan Bond, thought so much of his loyal Managing Director, Peter Beckwith, that he rewarded him with a $10 million bonus, but in an interview just published in the Bulletin magazine, Mr Bond blames Mr Beckwith for the crash of the Bond Corporation. Mr Bond claims his one mistake - if he ever made one - was to entrust too much to the late Mr Beckwith.

Jane Rowe asked Four Corners reporter, Paul Barry, who recently wrote a book on the troubled entrepreneur, if Mr Bond could legitimately blame the dead man for the devastation of the Bond empire.

PAUL BARRY: If you look at the mistakes that Bond made, the most serious perhaps is Lonrho. There's no question that that was Alan Bond's personal decision to buy the shares in Lonrho, and that none of the other executives really had much interest in it - and certainly didn't think of it - and thereafter let Bond handle it by himself. If you look at Channel Nine, which was another great mistake of Bond's, again, I've never seen Peter Beckwith play a great role in those negotiations - it was always Bond and Kerry Packer. Now that cost him $600-800 million. If you look at the Bell Resources acquisition, which again Bond claims to have been one of the great mistakes that they made, the person doing the negotiations with Holmes a Court, was Alan Bond himself, not Alan Beckwith, so I find it very strange that he should now want to claim that it was all Beckwith who made these mistakes.

JANE ROWE: He doesn't just blame Peter Beckwith though, he also blames interest rates, Tiny Rowland, the media, the banks and whingers in general. Can he pass any blame legitimately on those people?

PAUL BARRY: I've always thought Alan Bond was a bit like a kid who's never grown up. This, it seems to me, is very like a kid who's caught with his hand in the cookie jar or he's found that all the cookies have disappeared and he says: no, it's nothing to do with me. Well, here's a man who's lost, or borrowed $12,000 million - his companies have - and those companies have ended up losing half that money, $6,000 million, and Alan Bond is now trying to claim it's nothing to do with him: it's the press who brought him down, or it's executives who made the bad decisions. Bond, ran Bond Corporation, Bond made a decision that brought those losses. It's Alan Bond who's to blame, Alan Bond who caused the collapse. Now, the fact that the media eventually, and I mean eventually caught up with him, and his bankers eventually caught up with him, and figured out what was going on - sure, they took the bricks out of the wall, but the wall was already falling down anyway.

JANE ROWE: The cover of the Bulletin magazine claims Bond is bouncing back. Is he in a position to do that, ignore the trail of disaster he's left?

PAUL BARRY: Who is going to lend him money as a banker, now? And as for the particular project, which is supposed to bring him success - this Queensland nickel - that project is being run by the bankers, as I understand it. It has virtually a going concern qualification on the accounts, which is tantamount to saying the accountants don't know whether it's worth anything at all. And the ultimate holding company Dallhold has $250 million of debts all secured against this. It also has tremendous problems in getting any supply of nickel because it's been knocked back by the Federal Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in unloading any stuff, so it's not really a goer. And what this also ignores is that Bond and his directors are now being investigated by a special investigator called John Sealan?. He is due to report in about two weeks, to the Federal Attorney-General and the State Attorneys-General, and he's been asked to produce a four-page report and specify what offences, if any, he thinks Bond and his directors may have committed. And one needs to get those things out of the way before we start talking about the renaissance of this great risk taker.

RICHARD PALFREYMAN: Bond chronicler, Paul Barry.