ICAC finds former minister Ian Macdonald corrupt over rewards for facilitating meeting with energy executive

Wednesday 31 July 2013

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that former NSW energy minister Ian Macdonald engaged in corrupt conduct by exercising his ministerial influence to arrange a meeting between businessman Ronald Medich and Country Energy managing director Craig Murray on 15 July 2009, and, prior to the meeting, by soliciting the services of a woman as a reward for arranging the meeting.

The Commission's report, Investigation into the conduct of Ian Macdonald, Ronald Medich and others, released today, finds that Mr Macdonald, who was on friendly terms with Mr Medich, arranged the meeting so Mr Medich, and any other person he wished to have present, could promote to Mr Murray the services of Rivercorp Pty Ltd, an electrical contracting company in which Mr Medich had a significant financial interest.

The ICAC found that Mr Macdonald also engaged in corrupt conduct by receiving from Mr Medich and Fortunato (Lucky) Gattellari the services of a woman and hotel accommodation as a reward for arranging the meeting.

Mr Medich and Mr Gattellari engaged in corrupt conduct by arranging the hotel accommodation and the services of a woman for Mr Macdonald as a means of rewarding him for showing favour to Mr Medich by arranging the meeting so that Mr Medich, and any other person he wished to have present, could attend the meeting and promote the electrical services of Rivercorp to Mr Murray.

The meeting between Mr Macdonald and Mr Murray took place, at the request of Mr Macdonald, on 15 July 2009 at the Tuscany Restaurant at Leichhardt in Sydney. Mr Medich is a well-known habitué of that restaurant. Mr Murray was accompanied by another Country Energy executive, William Frewen. Within about 30 minutes of the arrival of Mr Murray and Mr Frewen, Mr Medich joined them at the table they were sharing with Mr Macdonald and stayed for most of the meeting. They were also joined by Rivercorp CEO Kim Shipley who, according to Mr Frewen, spoke about his interest in providing electrical services to Country Energy for about 20 minutes. Mr Shipley then returned to his table. Other people at the table with Mr Shipley included included Mr Gattellari, his associate Senad Kaminic, and "Tiffanie".

Mr Gattellari had arranged for Tiffanie to be present at the request of Mr Medich after the restaurant's owner, Frank Moio, asked for Mr Medich's assistance when Mr Macdonald told Mr Moio, sometime on or before 13 July 2009, that he wanted the sexual services of a woman to be made available to him after the meeting with Mr Murray on 15 July. Mr Medich agreed to facilitate Mr Macdonald's request, asking Mr Gattellari to make the arrangements.

After Mr Murray and Mr Frewen had left the restaurant, Mr Medich informed Mr Gattellari that Mr Macdonald had selected Tiffanie and wished to rendezvous with her in a room at the Four Seasons Hotel later that night. Mr Medich later drove Mr Macdonald to the hotel, where Mr Macdonald met Tiffanie. Mr Kaminic had earlier driven Tiffanie to the hotel, where he booked and paid for the room with money Mr Gattellari had given him. Mr Macdonald did not dispute that he accepted the hotel accommodation and the services provided by Tiffanie without paying for them.

The report says that the fact Mr Macdonald wished to avail himself of the services of a woman after the conclusion of a meeting he arranged for Mr Medich's benefit, and the fact that Mr Macdonald had no intention of paying for those services, demonstrates that he sought the services of the woman and the hotel accommodation from Mr Medich (through Mr Moio) implicitly as a reward for arranging access to Country Energy executives and that he accepted the rewards on that basis.

The Commission is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with respect to prosecuting Mr Macdonald for an offence of corruptly receiving a benefit from Mr Medich and Mr Gattellari as a reward for showing favour to Mr Medich and an offence of misconduct in public office.

The Commission is also of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the DPP with respect to the prosecution of Mr Medich for an offence of corruptly giving a benefit to Mr Macdonald as reward for Mr Macdonald showing favour to him in relation to the affairs or business of Mr Macdonald's principal.

Fact sheet

Investigation report

Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media, Nicole Thomas, 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801

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