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NSW Sports Minister steps down in corruption probe

NSW Sports Minister steps down in corruption probe
September 21, 2019

NSW Sports Minister John Sidoti has this week stepped down from his Cabinet role in the Government of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pending a potential investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Premier Berejiklian accepted Sidoti's resignation on Tuesday after she received a letter from ICAC indicating it would undertake a "preliminary investigation" into his property deals.

The Premier said ICAC had requested the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet - which was conducting its own investigation into Sidoti's actions before he became NSW Sports Minister - take no further action on the matters pending ICAC's review.

Premier Berejiklian advised "I have accepted this request."

In a statement released simultaneously with that of the NSW Premier, Sidoti said he offered to stand aside and Ms Berejiklian accepted the offer.

His statement advised "the allegations made against me by the media, and exacerbated by the Opposition and the crossbench in budget estimates and Parliament, are false and inaccurate.

"I deny any allegations of wrongdoing. I have no undeclared conflicts of interest or benefits."

Sidoti has been linked to a $1,750 political donation the Liberal Party received from Chinese property developer Ming Shang in 2015 - a donation the Liberal Party handed back last week.

Ming's firm is building $70 million worth of residential towers in Rouse Hill, near the newly completed Metro West train line.

Sidoti - who was NSW Parliamentary Secretary of Planning at the time - has declared a 10% interest in the Rouse Hill development through a family company called JAFS Investment Trust.

The Minister also faced allegations last week over his role in the approval of an access road for the development.

Sidoti faced a grilling during budget estimates, but maintained his innocence, telling the hearing he "complied with the code of conduct" on multiple occasions.

The NSW Premier said she had been given "strong assurances" Sidoti acted appropriately "at all times" and compiled with the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

Premier Berejiklian's office advised that Parramatta MP Geoff Lee will act as NSW Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans until the preliminary investigation is concluded.

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15th April 2019 - Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium gets community opening

1st April 2019 - NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces leisure and related portfolios in new cabinet

8th February 2019 - NSW Premier accused of $25 million sport venue ‘blackmail’ in marginal electorate

28th August 2018 - Australian cricket unhappy at recycling of corruption claims

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5th June 2017 - Former NSW events minister ‘Sir Lunchalot’ jailed for 10 years

10th February 2016 - Tennis umpires scrutinised and banned in corruption case

5th June 2015 - Federal Police probe FFA World Cup bid corruption allegations

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