An investigation into corruption that spanned years and looked at economic connections with China found on Thursday that the former premier of the most populous state in Australia participated in corrupt activity with a different legislator with whom she had a covert relationship.
According to a report by the New South Wales Independent Commission into Corruption (ICAC), Gladys Berejiklian violated the ministerial code by failing to alert the commission to her suspicions that Daryl Maguire, a state assemblyman she was dating at the time, may have engaged in corrupt behavior.
Berejiklian, who will be the premier of New South Wales in 2020, revealed to the corruption inquiry that she had a “close personal relationship” with Maguire, who was being investigated for abusing his position by engaging in business with China. Maguire was once a star of the Liberal party and was well-respected for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the watchdog announced that it was looking into whether she had engaged in behavior that “constituted or involved a breach of public trust” a year later, she quit.
Berejiklian said that her attorneys were reviewing the findings. In a statement, she said, “At all times, I have worked tirelessly for the public good.
According to the investigation, Maguire tried to “create a network between China and Australia and to make a commission in multiple ways” by using his position in government.
After being introduced by the founding member of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China at one of its meetings, the Australian branch of China’s biggest real estate developer became his client. In February, Australia identified the council as having ties to the Chinese government.
Maguire testified to the committee that he had been a part of a conspiracy enabling Chinese people to get visas unlawfully when he received envelopes containing thousands of dollars in cash at his parliamentary office.
For the migration plan and other wrongdoings, the commission determined that Maguire participated in “serious corrupt conduct” between 2012 and 2018.
It claimed that he exploited his position as chairman of the Asia Pacific Friendship Group of the New South Wales Parliament to further the economic objectives of a Chinese business group in the countries of the South Pacific.
Additionally, it was discovered that he had profited from his status as a legislator for the benefit of G8way, a business that aimed to offer access to “high levels of government” in Australia. According to the report, G8way’s “man in Beijing” was a former vice consul in Sydney.
By accepting payment to introduce then-New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell to the party secretary of China’s Liaoning province in parliament in 2012, Maguire also abused his position, the report said.
Maguire has not yet entered a plea to the criminal charge he already faces in court for his involvement in the immigration program.
His attorney said that he was still reviewing the 600+ page report. In a prior statement, he claimed that the committee was “not authorized” to reach a conclusion that a crime had been committed.
The panel said that it will consult with the director of public prosecutions to see if further investigations against Maguire should be opened.