Digital art for ICAC hearing
Digital art for ICAC hearing

Why ICAC outed premier Gladys Berejiklian’s affair

The ICAC said it revealed the secretive relationship between NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and allegedly corrupt MP Daryl Maguire because it is required not just to investigate corruption but "conduct connected with alleged corrupt conduct".

It comes as former MP Daryl Maguire revealed he spoke with Ms Berejiklian about "problems in life" ranging from business deals to debt, the corruption watchdog has heard.

The former MP for Wagga Wagga confirmed he was in a close personal relationship with Ms Berejiklian from about 2015 to 2016 and it was "on again, off again" until August or September this year.

Daryl Maguire during his appearance at ICAC.
Daryl Maguire during his appearance at ICAC.

Maguire told the Independent Commission Against Corruption the investigation into his alleged misuse of his public office has likely brought the secretive relationship to a swift end.

Counsel Assisting the Commission Scott Robertson called for the hearing to be closed to the media and the public so the details of the relationship can be extracted to properly understand the intercepted phone calls and evidence between the Premier and Maguire.

"Regretfully it's been necessary for this inquiry to trespass on matters that ordinarily would be entirely private but as part of this commission's responsibility of investigating not just alleged corrupt conduct but conduct connected with alleged corrupt conduct it was necessary in my judgement … to trespass in part on matters that would ordinarily be private," he said.

"This commission should not conduct something in the way of a public trial as to the nature and extent of the relationship between these individuals."

Council Assisting Scott Robertson arrives at ICAC. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Council Assisting Scott Robertson arrives at ICAC. Picture: Dylan Robinson

 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian leaves home this morning. Picture: Jeremy Piper
Premier Gladys Berejiklian leaves home this morning. Picture: Jeremy Piper

Part of that evidence is an intercepted phone call, from September 2017, with Maguire telling the Premier about the imminent success of a Badgerys Creek property deal.

Maguire was asked if he kept Ms Berejiklian informed of the development and other business interests.

"I don't know if I ever went into specifics, it was broad discussion stuff," he said.

Maguire was unable to recall if he introduced Ms Berejiklian to Chinese property developer and broker William Luong, who was helping the Badgerys Creek sale progress.

But he said he did keep her informed of his $1.5 million debt.

"I think in general discussion I may have raised it seeking guidance - reassurance with what I'm doing," he said.

"My recollection is I raised it to her. I only have a few friends you can raise it with and I would have run it past her perhaps to get a view."

He said he would run other things past Ms Berejiklian including what he was thinking about doing or actually doing to "solve some issues".

He described them as "general problems I was having with life".

Maguire also said he can not remember how much information he gave Ms Berejiklian about Leeton businessman Jimmy Liu but said he had spoken with her about Mr Liu and Badgerys Creek.

The ICAC heard he had introduced Ms Waterhouse to Mr Liu, among others, as he sought to help her progress her property's development or sale.

"I may have indicated who Jimmy was, I can't be clear I'm sorry," he said.

Mr Liu, in 2017, mentioned Maguire could take up a position in agribusiness UWE's board of directors. Maguire sought advice on the offer through the proper channels at Parliament.

During that discussion with the Parliamentary ethics advisor, Maguire said he was unsure about whether he would contest the 2019 election - but he told the ICAC he had already decided in his mind he would retire.

Two months later Maguire threatened to gatecrash Trade Minister Niall Blair's first visit to China to help secure a business outcome for UWE, which he felt was being forgotten by bureaucrats.

He had broached his retirement with Ms Berejiklian, he said, and agreed the pair were hoping to go public with their relationship once he left politics.

"I wanted to get out, I needed to get out," he said.

The ICAC heard Maguire was trying to pay down his debts and also set himself up for a job after politics.

Maguire said he gets about $80,000 a year, tax free, for his politician's superannuation.

But a "private settlement" with his ex-wife means she gets part of his entitlements.

Phil Elliott, who officially ran Maguire's hidden company G8wayinternational, told the ICAC in his own evidence Maguire needed to come up with $1m for his divorce.

The corruption watchdog then shut its doors to media so issues in their relationship could be explored in private.

Maguire earlier admitted he was going to be "taken care of" if the iconic Waterhouse racing family sold or developed land at Badgerys Creek and that's why he worked to help the property developer reach high levels of government.

The former Wagga Wagga MP had told his secret partner, Ms Berejiklian, he was $1.5 million in debt but it looked like his friend William was about to secure a deal that could sort out his money woes.

"I don't need to know about that bit," Ms Berejiklian responded when Maguire told her about his imminent success in late 2017.

But the deal ended up falling through.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has heard that was a reference to a planned sale of a $330 million plot of land owned by Louise Waterhouse and the racing clan.

The ICAC heard, on Thursday, Maguire set up a dinner in April that year between developer Louise Waterhouse and Chinese businessmen for the sale.

Maguire agreed he acted as an "introducer" between Ms Waterhouse and William Luong, who could help broker the sale to a massive Chinese firm called Country Gardens.

The MP understood he would get a sizable commission from Mr Luong if the sale had succeeded.

He said a comment had been made that he would be "taken care of" but there had been no formal discussion between himself and Mr Luong.

"At some point it was suggested to me I think by Mr Luong, not Ms Waterhouse," Maguire said.

The ICAC has previously heard Maguire went to great lengths organising meetings between Ms Waterhouse and government officials as she sought changes to zoning and roads around her land.

He stopped short of saying he agreed every step he took was driven by his lust for money but agreed it was at least part of the reason.

 

MAGUIRE INVITED MATES TO PAY $1K TO LISTEN TO GLADYS

Former MP Daryl Maguire has admitted he was going to be "taken care of" if the iconic Waterhouse racing family sold or developed land at Badgerys Creek and that's why he worked to help the property developer reach high levels of government.

The former Wagga Wagga MP had told his secret partner, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, he was $1.5 million in debt but it looked like his friend William was about to secure a deal that could sort out his money woes.

"I don't need to know about that bit," Ms Berejiklian responded when Maguire told her about his imminent success in late 2017.

But the deal ended up falling through.

Daryl Maguire arrives at ICAC on Thursday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Daryl Maguire arrives at ICAC on Thursday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has heard that was a reference to a planned sale of a $330m plot of land owned by Louise Waterhouse and the racing clan.

The ICAC heard, on Thursday, Maguire set up a dinner in April that year between developer Louise Waterhouse and Chinese businessmen for the sale.

Maguire agreed he acted as an "introducer" between Ms Waterhouse and William Luong who could help broker the sale to a massive Chinese firm called Country Gardens.

The MP understood he would get a sizable commission from Mr Luong if the sale had succeeded.

He said a comment had been made that he'd be "taken care of" but there had been no formal discussion between himself and Mr Luong.

"At some point it was suggested to me I think by Mr Luong, not Ms Waterhouse," Maguire said.

The ICAC has previously heard Maguire went to great lengths organising meetings between Ms Waterhouse and government officials as she sought changes to zoning and roads around her land.

He stopped short of saying he agreed every step he took was driven by his lust for money, but it was at least part of the reason.

 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday morning ahead of Daryl Maguire’s second day of questioning at ICAC. Picture: Jeremy Piper
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday morning ahead of Daryl Maguire’s second day of questioning at ICAC. Picture: Jeremy Piper

Earlier the ICAC heard Maguire invited Ms Waterhouse, among others involved in the Badgerys Creek development to pay $1000 to come to Parliament House and listen to his secret partner, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the NSW Treasurer speak about his candidacy.

Maguire, in late 2017, wrote to Ms Berjeiklian's office asking for the Premier to attend a fundraising dinner, the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard on Thursday.

Emails between the pair show Ms Berejiklian accepted the invitation for 6.30pm on September 12.

The event was to raise money for Maguire's candidacy, a common occurrence for MPs, the former Member for Wagga Wagga told the ICAC.

The ICAC heard the event involved speeches from a "very senior line-up" - Maguire himself would speak first, then NSW Treasurer Dominic Perottet, and then Ms Berejiklian.

But the audience had its own big names.

Daryl Maguire’s guest list …
Daryl Maguire’s guest list …

It included Louise Waterhouse, who the ICAC has heard Maguire was helping to develop or sell her massive parcel of land at Badgerys Creek.

The ICAC has heard Maguire hoped to secure a $1.5m windfall if the $330m sale went though and he could wipe his extensive debts, leave politics and potentially go public with his relationship with Ms Berejiklian.

Also invited was GT Hu, the CEO of Country Gardens. His company was supposed to be the buyer of the Waterhouse property.

William Luong, also invited, was acting as an agent for Ms Waterhouse in brokering the sale with Country Gardens.

He told the ICAC, in his own evidence, he had sat next to the Premier at the dinner.

Mr Luong said he wasn't sure if he, a property developer, was allowed to go to the event and pay the fee. But he claims Maguire said "don't worry about it" when he hesitated.

"You've got to pay and then I said, 'No, I can't pay this sort of thing'," Mr Luong said earlier this month.

Maguire said he couldn't specifically remember the figure but $1000 is what he would charge for a dinner with such high profile politicians.

Cottontail Wines owner, Gerry McCormick, was also asked to attend.

He made headlines when he admitted he had not told the truth to the ICAC about his involvement in a migration "scam" that saw fake Chinese workers employed at Wagga businesses, including his own.

Mr McCormick ended up calling ICAC to deliver more evidence, the day after he was released from the witness box, where he admitted he received cash payments to stay silent about the fact his Chinese worker never showed up.

The final person identified on the guest list was Sarah Vasey, a staffer from Maguire's Wagga office.

She told the ICAC she was involved in backing up his phones and shredding documents when ICAC began circling.

Ms Vasey said she was phoned by Maguire's son, James, when the family home was raided and she took it as a sign to get out of the office with a sensitive USB stick that belonged to Maguire in case she was raided next.

None of the other guests, aside from Maguire, are accused of wrongdoing.

Maguire said his "strong recollection" was that not everyone on the list turned up to the fundraiser.

 

 

Originally published as Why ICAC outed premier Gladys Berejiklian's affair



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