dvduval - 7:45 am on Jun 23, 2010 (gmt 0)
It reminds me of a PR6 site I visited once years ago. The owner had planned on launching several blogs and had linked to them but all of them simply said Hello world and sat with a cozy PR5.
At least in that case it doesn't sound like intent to manipulate. For example, here on webmaster world, there was a link to forum software that might be released at a later date for a long time.
In other cases, it is much clearer buying and selling of pagerank, and I would have thought a pagerank 9 site being involved in pagerank manipulation with a HIDDEN agenda (no script tag) linking to a completely unrelated site is pretty serious stuff where most likely thousands of dollars are changing hands for the sake of buying and selling of pagerank.