Businessman admits lying to ICAC over $5K Labor donation

 

A Sydney businessman whose brother helped organise a Labor fundraiser in 2015 has backflipped on the evidence he gave at ICAC last week and admitted to the court that he was telling lies.

Emperor's Garden chief financial officer Valentine Yee told the Independent Commission Against Corruption today that instead of donating money personally to Labor at a fundraising dinner, Mr Yee said the $5000 he gave was from Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.

Mr Yee also said his brother Jonathan Yee - a Labor supporter who helped organise the dinner - was friends with former Labor MP Ernest Wong and Mr Huang.

 

The controversial Labor dinner.
The controversial Labor dinner.

 

The ICAC is investigating whether an allegedly illegal $100,000 donation was handed to NSW Labor after the 2015 Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner from Mr Huang and later covered up by declaring the money in separate amounts of $5000 from fake donors.

Mr Huang, a property developer, was banned from donating.

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Last week Mr Yee said he donated $5000 in an envelope to Labor on the night of the dinner, and that his parents had donated money to the dinner as well.

However, this morning, Mr Yee admitted this was a lie, and said the money had come from Mr Huang.

"You do have a recollection of your brother uttering words to effect of Mr Huang, or Huang Xiangmo, or Xiangmo Huang, in connection with donations. Is that right?" Counsel Assisting Scott Robertson said.

"Yes sir," Mr Yee said.

"Do we take it from those utterances, either a true source of the money, or at least a true source of the money, that you had signed off as being yours, was Mr Huang Xiangmo's?," Mr Robertson said.

Labor MP Ernest Wong. Picture: AAP
Labor MP Ernest Wong. Picture: AAP

"Yes sir."

Mr Robertson asked Mr Yee whether he was lying last week.

"Much of what you told the commission in your compulsory examination was a lie," Mr Robertson said.

"That's correct," Mr Yee told ICAC.

"Why was it that you lied, both in the public exam and the private hearing on Friday?" Mr Robertson asked.

"It's just more in helping Jonathan out in regards to this matter, that's all."

Mr Yee said his family met for lunch at the Emperor's Garden restaurant yesterday and discussed the ICAC investigation and his testimony in a private room.

He said his mother, father and brother Jonathan were all present at the meeting.

"I'll be honest with you, we had a family meeting and thought this thing, I think its best if we tell the truth," Mr Yee said.

"I just said basically after the adjournment of the public hearing (last week), I said look, I think we should be telling the truth about this matter," Mr Yee said.

"Basically I saw my mother really stressed, and she couldn't sleep, and she did mention to me that she wanted to cause suicide over this matter."

Mr Yee said his brother Jonathan, who was a Labor candidate for the City of Sydney, was friends with Mr Huang.

"I think, more friends … They seem when they talk, they seem to be quite cheery when they talk to each other," Mr Yee said.

He said his brother Jonathan was also close friends with Mr Wong.

"My understanding between Ernest Wong and Jonathan Yee, over the years, Ernest Wong being working in the Chinese community, he's actually become really good friends in regards to supporting everyone in the Chinese community," Mr Yee said.



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