Macdonald prostitute claims came to light in murder probe

CLAIMS that former NSW resources minister Ian Macdonald accepted the services of a prostitute as a reward from energy executives first surfaced during a police investigation into the murder of Sydney businessman Michael McGurk, the ICAC has revealed.

In a report released in NSW Parliament on Wednesday, the ICAC found Mr Macdonald had engaged in corrupt conduct by awarding a coal exploration licence that would significantly benefit the family of Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.

The ICAC also found Mr Macdonald had used his influence as the minister for energy to arrange a meeting between Country Energy managing director Craig Murray and businessman Ron Medich so he could promote electric services company Rivercorp.

The report noted Mr Medich and fellow executives, Fortunato "Lucky" Gattellari and Senad Kaminic, were arrested in relation to the murder of Mr McGurk in 2010.

During a police interview, Mr Kaminic said he and Mr Gattellari had arranged the services of a prostitute for Mr Macdonald in 2009.

NSW Police referred the information to the corruption watchdog which was already investigating the coal mining licence scandal.

During a subsequent inquiry, codenamed Operation Jarilo, the ICAC heard Mr Macdonald requested Mr Murray meet him at the Tuscany restaurant in Sydney on July 15, 2009.

Within 30 minutes, they were joined by Mr Medich and Rivercorp CEO Kim Shipley who had been sitting at a nearby table with Mr Gattellari, Mr Kaminic and a prostitute name "Tiffanie".

Mr Gattellari had arranged for the Chinese escort to be present at the request of Mr Medich who had been told by the restaurant owner that Mr Macdonald "wanted the sexual services of a woman to be made available to him after the meeting".

"Tiffanie" told the inquiry Mr Macdonald had kissed her "roughly" but did not have sex with her because he fell asleep.

The commission found Mr Macdonald had sought the services of the woman and hotel accommodation from Mr Medich "implicitly as a reward for arranging access to Country Energy executives and that he accepted the rewards on that basis".

Criminal charges against Mr Macdonald and Mr Medich were recommended.



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