Two men charged with corruption offences

The NSW Trade Union Taskforce (TUTF) today charged two Sydney men with corruption offences as part of a long-running investigation into allegedly corrupt payments from builders to union office holders.

A 56-year-old Bradbury man and a 36-year-old man from Caringbah South were arrested by police this morning and are expected to face Sydney Central Local Court this afternoon.

It will be alleged in court that the men solicited and accepted payments from the owner of a building company in exchange for preferential treatment from the union and access to building contracts.

The owner of the building company was charged on 18 November 2020 with six counts of giving a corrupting benefit, contrary to section 536D(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), and one count of attempt to deal with proceeds of crime of more than $50,000, contrary to sections 11.1(1) and 400.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

He has entered guilty pleas in relation to the charges and is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on 24 September 2021 in the Downing Centre District Court.

A total of 10 search warrants were executed on premises in the Sydney suburbs of Bradbury, Caringbah South, Pyrmont, Liverpool, Rhodes, Fairfield East and Surry Hills in November 2020 as part of this investigation.

AFP Detective Superintendent Craig Bellis said this investigation was focussed on the alleged criminal conduct of individuals in the building industry.

“The construction industry is a key driver of both the State and Australian economies. As a major employer of people in NSW, it should operate free from unlawful influence and corrupt activity,” he said.

“The diligence and thorough nature in which this investigation was conducted demonstrates the gravity of the alleged offending. It also highlights the strong commitment of all agencies involved to remove corrupt actors from the industry and bring them before the courts.”

NSW Police Criminal Groups Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow, said the arrests followed a lengthy investigation examining allegations of corruption in the New South Wales building industry.

“The taskforce has uncovered a significant amount of evidence suggesting the two men arrested today benefited from illegal cash payments on more than one occasion in their positions as union officials.

“Irrespective of anyone’s job, corruption and corrupt activity will not be tolerated by police and I encourage those who see it or know it is occurring, to come forward,” Det Supt Critchlow said.

The 56-year-old Bradbury man has been charged with four counts of receiving a corrupting benefit, contrary to section 536D(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

The Caringbah South man has been charged with make false declaration, contrary to section 25 of the Oaths Act 1900 (NSW) and two counts of receive a corrupting benefit contrary to section 536D(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is 10 years imprisonment or a $1.11 million fine, or both. The maximum penalty for the offence under the Oaths Act 1900 is five years imprisonment.

The TUTF is a joint-agency taskforce comprising members of the AFP and NSW Police.

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