University of Sydney – corruption allegations concerning IT manager (Operation Citrus)

Year: 2012 Status: Completed

The ICAC investigated allegations that University of Sydney information technology (IT) manager Atilla “Todd” Demiralay engaged in corrupt conduct by using a business that employed his wife, and later operated through a company in which he and his wife had a financial interest, to recruit contractors and staff for the university, without disclosing his financial interest in the business.

Mr Demiralay was also alleged to have engaged in corrupt conduct by engaging his brother-in-law, friends and candidates put forth by Succuro and Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd to work at the university.

In its report on the investigation, made public on 24 October 2012, the Commission makes corrupt conduct findings against Mr Demiralay. The Commission is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Mr Demiralay and his wife, Virginia Kantarzis, for offences of giving false or misleading evidence pursuant to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

The Commission has made seven corruption recommendations to the University of Sydney, including that it should where possible establish a single point of access for employment of IT contractors using multiple recruitment firms in competition.

Findings of corrupt conduct

The ICAC found that Atilla "Todd" Demiralay engaged in corrupt conduct by:

  • using Succuro and Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd to recruit contractors and staff for the University of Sydney despite the conflict of interest caused by his wife's employment with Succuro and, from August 2008, by his and his wife's financial interest in Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd

  • engaging George Tsipidis, his brother-in-law, to work at the university despite the conflict of interest caused by their undisclosed family relationship

  • falsely recording that he had considered other candidates when engaging a close friend, Adrian Buxton, to work at the university

  • recommending that the university employ a candidate, Gerard Hunt, provided by Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd (which resulted in the payment of a fee to the company) despite the conflict of interest caused by Mr Demiralay having an undisclosed financial interest in that company.

Recommendations for prosecutions

The Commission must seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether any prosecution should be commenced. The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions. The Commission provides information on this website in relation to the status of prosecution recommendations and outcomes as advised by the DPP. The progress of matters is generally within the hands of the DPP. Accordingly, the Commission does not directly notify persons affected of advice received from the DPP or the progress of their matters generally.

The ICAC is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Atilla Demiralay and his wife, Virginia Kantarzis, for offences of giving false or misleading evidence pursuant to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

Mr Demiralay and Ms Kantarzis were being prosecuted for offences of giving false or misleading evidence to the Commission pursuant to section 87 of the ICAC Act. The charges were listed for hearing at the Downing Centre Local Court on 27 October 2014. On 29 October 2014, Ms Kantarzis pleaded guilty to one count of giving misleading evidence to the Commission. On 19 December 2014, she was directed to perform 180 hours of community service work. On 5 February 2015, the charges against Mr Demiralay were withdrawn by the DPP and the hearing date listed for 12 February 2015 vacated.

Recommendations for disciplinary action

As Mr Demiralay is no longer employed by the university, the Commission is not required to form an opinion as to whether a recommendation for disciplinary action to be considered should be made.

Recommendations for corruption prevention

The Commission has made seven corruption prevention recommendations to the University of Sydney as follows:

Recommendation 1

That, where possible, the University of Sydney should establish a single point of access for employment of IT contractors, using multiple C100 recruitment firms in competition.

Recommendation 2

That, where access to IT contract employment is not feasibly managed through C100 firms in competition, the University of Sydney should establish the probity and competence of alternative recruitment firms independently of the views of operational university staff. Such a process should include the conducting of background checks.

Recommendation 3

That the University of Sydney implements its proposed financial analysis framework.

Recommendation 4

That the University of Sydney's management of contract labour through recruitment suppliers be the responsibility of SydneyRecruitment or a specialist unit.

Recommendation 5

That the relevant University of Sydney policy for non-exempt general staff selection committees requires:

  • the presence of an independent member on selection committees

  • members of selection committees to be more senior than the position for which they are recruiting.

Recommendation 6

That the University of Sydney ensures the authority and responsibility of SydneyRecruitment is such that it is able to influence policy compliance at critical points in the recruitment process, and that it is held accountable for the exercise of that influence.

Recommendation 7

That the University of Sydney adopts an electronic approval system as part of any major enhancement of its human resources systems.

Implementation Plan

The implementation plan posted below has been provided by the University of Sydney in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. Its appearance here is for information only and does not constitute the approval or endorsement of the plan by the Commission.

University of Sydney - Implementation plan

Progress report

The progress report posted below has been provided by the University of Sydney in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. Its appearance here is for information only and does not constitute the approval or endorsement of the report by the Commission.

University of Sydney - Progress report

Final report

The final progress report posted below has been provided by the University of Sydney in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. Its appearance here is for information only and does not constitute the approval or endorsement of the report by the Commission.

University of Sydney - Final Progress report

Media Releases

ICAC finds Sydney University IT manager corrupt

24 Oct 2012

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that University of Sydney information technology (IT) manager Atilla "Todd" Demiralay engaged in corrupt conduct by using Succuro Recruitment, a business that employed his wife and later operated through a company in which he and his wife had a financial interest, to recruit contractors and staff for the university, without disclosing his financial interest in the business.

MEDIA ALERT - ICAC public inquiry concerning former Sydney University IT manager to be recalled

1 May 2012

Former University of Sydney IT manager Atilla (Todd) Demiralay and his wife, Virginia Kantarzis, will be recalled to give further evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption's (ICAC) public inquiry this week (Thursday 3 May 2012) into corruption allegations involving Mr Demiralay's use of a recruitment agency, in which he and Ms Kantarzis had an interest, to recruit contractors for the university.

ICAC to hold public inquiry into corruption allegations involving Sydney University IT staff and contractor employment

12 Mar 2012

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will hold a public inquiry commencing on Tuesday 20 March 2012 as part of an investigation it is conducting into corruption allegations concerning a University of Sydney manager's use of a recruitment agency, in which he and his wife had an interest, to recruit contractors and staff to the university.

Witness

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Download the Witness List (PDF)

Transcripts

View all transcripts associated with this investigation. The Commission makes every effort to post the daily transcripts of its public inquiries on its website by 8:00 pm each day when possible. If the Commission sits later than 4:00 pm, the daily transcripts, particularly the afternoon session, may not be available until the next working day.

 

Filename File Size KB Date pp. Time
20.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00001-00056_from_10.05am_to_1.02pm.pdf 147 20/03/12 00001-00056 10.05am_to_1.02pm
20.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00057-00105_from_2.00pm_to_4.10pm.pdf 124 20/03/12 00057-00105 2.00pm_to_4.10pm
21.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00106-00164_from_10.00am_to_12.57pm.pdf 156 21/03/12 00106-00164 10.00am_to_12.57pm
21.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00165-00226_from_2.02pm_to_4.15pm.pdf 151 21/03/12 00165-00226 2.02pm_to_4.15pm
22.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00227-00302_from_9.40am_to_1.00pm.pdf 183 22/03/12 00227-00302 9.40am_to_1.00pm
22.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00303-00350_from_2.10pm_to_4.07pm.pdf 131 22/03/12 00303-00350 2.10pm_to_4.07pm
23.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00351-00432_from_9.45am_to_1.02pm.pdf 207 23/03/12 00351-00432 9.45am_to_1.02pm
23.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00433-00482_from_2.07pm_to_4.11pm.pdf 130 23/03/12 00433-00482 2.07pm_to_4.11pm
26.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00483-00555_from_9.30am_to_12.59pm.pdf 186 26/03/12 00483-00555 9.30am_to_12.59pm
26.03.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00556-00585_from_2.00pm_to_3.11pm.pdf 82 26/03/12 00556-00585 2.00pm_to_3.11pm
10.04.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00586-00634_from_10.40am_to_1.07pm.pdf 125 10/04/12 00586-00634 10.40am_to_1.07pm
10.04.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00635-00679_from_2.07pm_to_4.04pm.pdf 116 10/04/12 00635-00679 2.07pm_to_4.04pm
11.04.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00680-00734_from_11.05am_to_1.07pm.pdf 135 11/04/12 00680-00734 11.05am_to_1.07pm
11.04.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00735-00810_from_2.10pm_to_5.22pm.pdf 186 11/04/12 00735-00810 2.10pm_to_5.22pm
03.05.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00811-00874_from_10.05am_to_1.01pm.pdf 163 03/05/12 00811-00874 10.05am_to_1.01pm
03.05.12_Operation_Citrus_transcript_pp._00875-00888_from_2.07pm_to_2.38pm.pdf 39 03/05/12 00875-00888 2.07pm_to_2.38pm
Exhibits Public notices