A corruption inquiry into the New South Wales’ former Labor-secretary Jamie Clements’ attempts to circumvent donation laws has heard that he was flown around the country in a Crown casino jet with Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.
The inquiry was told that Mr. Clements was flown for business and “entertainment” purposes, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Crown Resorts is already facing investigations over allegations of money laundering and allowing Chinese mafias to wager. It is also accused of facilitating fast track visa processing for its VIP clients.
Counsel Scott Robertson who is also assisting the inquiry commission, reportedly said that while Mr. Huang was looking for some political influence, Mr. Clements was seeking donations for Labor party.
The corruption inquiry commission had also previously learned that Mr. Huang presented Mr. Clements $100,000 cash in an Aldi shopping bag at Labor’s headquarters. However, it has been denied by both the former labor boss and the Chinese billionaire.
The inquiry was presented a number of text messages exchanged between Mr. Clements and Mr. Haung’s executive assistant Tim Xu. One of the messages was requesting the Labor chief to help with a “strategic partnership” between the Labor Government in Victoria and a Chinese delegation.
Mr. Clements has denied foul play and speaking to The Australian he said that he had accepted invitations to join “Mr Huang on the Crown private jet on numerous other occasions as well, but these flights occurred after he left his position as NSW Labor Party secretary in January 2016 and started working for the property developer as an adviser earning more than $600,000 over three years.”
Australia’s top casino operator Crown Resorts has also facing investigation following allegations of money-laundering and facilitating fast-track visas for VIP Chinese guests at their gambling facilities.
The Nexus between the Australian casino operators, the local politicians and Chinese billionaires who also often happen to be patrons of casinos has been questioned time and again.
While the authorities are still investigating the allegations against Crown, the casino operator has denied the claims and said that they are a victim of a deceitful campaign.
Recently, in October, a whistleblower released footage through the ABC News showing a man unloading hundreds of thousands of dollars in a room that was reportedly reserved for high-roller customers at the gambling facility.