ICAC - Jamie Clements
ICAC - Jamie Clements

Ex-Labor boss denies $100k ALDI cash bag handover

FORMER NSW Labor boss Jamie Clements has denied "on his oath" receiving a bag of cash from Chinese billionaire donor Huang Xiangmo but says he organised a meeting with Bill Shorten in the weeks following the suspicious $100,000 fundraising dinner, the corruption watchdog has heard.

Mr Clements spent Thursday again being grilled over whether he was handed a cash-stuffed ALDI bag by the billionaire after a dinner in March 2015.

Former Labor boss Jamie Clements has denied “on his oath” receiving a bag of cash from Chinese billionaire donor Huang Xiangmo. Picture: John Grainger
Former Labor boss Jamie Clements has denied “on his oath” receiving a bag of cash from Chinese billionaire donor Huang Xiangmo. Picture: John Grainger

The billionaire and the former Labor general secretary both deny the allegation.

But the ICAC has previously heard from Labor staffer Kendrick Cheah Mr Huang personally delivered the money in the shopping bag to Mr Clements in the weeks following the Chinese Friends of Labor fundraiser.

Mr Cheah said Mr Clements handed him the bag and asked him to count it.

But before the handover allegedly took place Mr Clements and Lower House MP Ernest Wong visited the tycoon's multimillion-dollar Mosman mansion three days after the Chinese Friends of Labor dinner.

The three had tea and, later at lunch, Mr Clements asked about the wine selection.

"I remember we were drinking grange, and I don't understand why they don't drink white wine with seafood," he told the ICAC on Thursday.

Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.
Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.

Mr Clements asked Mr Huang about Li Ka-Shing, another billionaire who had business interests in Australia.

"I was running TV ads with his face on it but didn't name him," Mr Clements said.

"We were saying the Liberals were selling the electricity network to a billionaire."

On April 7 Mr Huang met with Mr Clements in Labor's Sussex Street office and asked about a setting up a meeting with Bill Shorten, Mr Clements said.

"(I was asked) could I facilitate that, I said 'yes of course'," Mr Clements recalled.

"I believe I called Mr Shorten while they were sitting there."

Mr Clements repeatedly denied the April 7 Sussex Street meeting was the one in which the cash handover took place.

"I deny it on my oath," he said.

Mr Huang's meeting with Mr Shorten took place some weeks later, he added.

Clements organised a meeting with Bill Shorten. Picture: David Geraghty
Clements organised a meeting with Bill Shorten. Picture: David Geraghty

Mr Clements, contradicting Mr Cheah, said he only became aware $100,000 had been deposited into the party's accounts through the course of the ICAC investigation.

The former NSW Labor General Secretary told the commission, yesterday, detailed his "friendship" with Mr Huang.

The inquiry is investigating whether NSW Labor officials schemed to disguise Mr Huang as the true source of the $100,000 donation to the party using a racket of "straw" or fake donors.

He said Mr Huang handed him $35,000 in a wine box to pay his legal bills that arose from sexual harassment allegations.

Mr Clements had stepped aside in August when Mr Huang again met him at his Mosman mansion.

"He lead me upstairs to a room I'd never been in before," Mr Clements said on Wednesday.

"He had a box, a wine box and he opened it and there was cash in it."

Jamie Clements arrives at the ICAC hearing in Sydney. Picture: John Grainger
Jamie Clements arrives at the ICAC hearing in Sydney. Picture: John Grainger

Mr Huang, who does not speak conversational English, allegedly handed him a handwritten note that said "for your legal fees".

The billionaire screwed up the note and handed over the box of money - it was $35,000 in $100 bills.

Mr Clements said he counted the money in the car and took it home. He used it to pay some legal bills and keep himself afloat.

He never deposited it in a bank account because he didn't want his wife to find out.

"I believed I was about to lose my job I was told I was going to be charged," he said.

"I'd been hit by an AVO, I was on the front page of the paper I'd admitted to my wife I had an affair all within 24 to 48 hours.

"I was in all sorts commissioner".

The August wine box was not the first time Mr Clements had received money.

He recounted, in May 2015, when Mr Huang's assistant Tim Xu visited the head office with an envelope containing $10,000 in cash.

Mr Clements had asked the billionaire for money to pay for stamps to help a right-wing Union leader facing an election challenge.

Mr Huang - a property developer who has since been exiled from Australia - was banned from donating.


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