Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo asked to meet former Labor leader Bill Shorten during a meeting when he is alleged to have passed over $100,000 in cash, a corruption inquiryheard on Thursday.
Former Labor NSW secretary Jamie Clements told the Independent Commission Against Corruption that Mr Huang was present in his office when he called Mr Shorten to arrange a dinner, but Mr Clements denied any cash was handed over.
Mr Clements said it was possible that Mr Huang and his assistant Tim Xu could have been carrying a bag with them when they visited the Labor offices on April 7, 2015, and that Mr Huang might have presented him with a gift such as a bottle of wine. But no cash had been passed to him.
Labor community organiser Kenrick Cheah has testified that Mr Clements spoke to him after Mr Huang visited him, and hadpassed an Aldi bagto Mr Cheah containing $100,000 in cash, along with a series of forms completed in the names of straw donors.
“I deny that evidence is true, I deny that on my oath,” Mr Clements said.
Mr Cheah banked $100,000 in the ALP accounts on April 9, 2015, two days after Mr Huang’s visit.
The money related to a Chinese Friends of Labor dinner held a month before, on March 12, 2015, when Mr Huang sat with Mr Clements and Mr Shorten at the head table.
“Are you seriously saying your meeting had nothing to do with the $100,000 that was banked two days later by the office that you administer?” counsel assisting Scott Robertson asked.
“Yes,” Mr Clements replied.
He said that Mr Xu had messaged him at 10 that morning, asking to arrange a time for Mr Huang to visit. Mr Xu had arrived with Mr Huang at the Labor offices at 2pm.
“Mr Huang said he would like to meet Bill Shorten, he would like to have a lunch or a dinner with Mr Shorten,” Mr Clements testified. “Could I facilitate that? I said ‘yes of course’, and I gave Mr Shorten a call while they were sitting there.
“. . . We had dinner with Mr Shorten shortly after. Within a few weeks.”
The hearing continues.