Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale is defending charges including corruption, fraud and perjury following the now-closed investigation. None of the charges relate to the Japan trip allegations. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale is defending charges including corruption, fraud and perjury following the now-closed investigation. None of the charges relate to the Japan trip allegations. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Pisasale accused of touching-up hotel worker

A worker in a luxury Osaka hotel allegedly complained about being touched-up by then Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale while he was on a week-long council trip to Japan.

Newscorp can reveal the hotel staffer's complaints about inappropriate touching were taken so seriously his developer hosts in the city later met to diffuse the situation.

It is understood Pisasale might have been affixing a brooch to the woman's chest area at the time and explained the incident away as a misunderstanding, according to one source with knowledge of the investigation.

CCC investigators probed an allegation Pisasale inappropriately touched the woman at Osaka's St Regis hotel while on the June 2016 Japan trip as part of its wide-ranging Operation Windage into Ipswich council, but no charges were laid.

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale is defending charges including corruption, fraud and perjury following the now-closed investigation. None of the charges relate to the Japan trip allegations. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale is defending charges including corruption, fraud and perjury following the now-closed investigation. None of the charges relate to the Japan trip allegations. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Investigators were believed to be hampered by the difficulty of securing witnesses in Japan, which lies outside of its jurisdiction, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Pisasale is defending charges including corruption, fraud and perjury following the now-closed investigation. None of the charges relate to the Japan trip allegations.

He was staying in Osaka as a guest of major Japanese developer Sekisui House, the company behind a massive Ipswich residential project.

Sekisui has been a major donor to Pisasale's campaign and the mayor had previously championed their 4000-home Ripley Valley housing development in Ipswich.

The developer was questioned in 2017 over Pisasale's Osaka stay and provided information to the CCC about an alleged incident.

Sekisui told the CCC it held a meeting with the former mayor in response to the incident, and Pisasale was warned. Pisasale at the time rejected accusations of wrongdoing.

He blamed cultural differences and apologised.

Sekisui has refused on multiple occasions to respond to questions from this newspaper about the trip.

A spokeswoman for the Marriott's St Regis Osaka hotel said it "takes all reported incidents at its hotels very seriously, and the safety and security of our employees and guests is of utmost priority to us".

She confirmed the matter had been subject to an "investigation."

While the Osaka claims pricked the attention of Queensland investigators in November 2017, the allegations did not seem to raise international hackles at the time.

Searches of Japanese and Australian diplomatic posts using freedom of information laws in both countries turned up no contemporary mentions of any incident.

Pisasale's register of interests noted Sekisui paid for his accommodation while he was in Osaka.


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