Watchdog finds three former Sydney councillors corrupt

Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Three former councillors have been found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct for accepting multiple perks from Chinese developers trying to secure support for planning proposals.

The NSW corruption watchdog found the Sydney councillors committed serious misconduct by accepting tens of thousands of dollars in payments and multiple trips to China while failing to declare a conflict of interest.

Former Hurstville City Council and later Georges River Council councillors Vincenzo Badalati, Constantine Hindi and Philip Sansom were investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption for their conduct between 2014 and 2021.

The investigation related to applications for development proposals by Ching Wah (Philip) Uy, Yuqing Liu and Wengsheng Liu for an 11-storey apartment block at Treacy Street and separate proposals for developments at Landmark Square in Hurstville.

The commission found Mr Badalati and Mr Hindi each accepted about $170,000 from Mr Uy as an inducement or reward to use their positions as councillors to favour his development interests.

Mr Sansom was found to have accepted payment for return flights to China for himself and his partner in March and April 2014 despite knowing the trip was intended to influence his decision about Mr Uy's proposed developments.

Mr Uy was also found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct for making the payment.

In a report released on Wednesday, the commission said the three councillors engaged in serious corrupt conduct by attending council meetings and voting in favour of applications relating to the development proposals.

They failed to declare non-pecuniary interests that had arisen from their relationships with Mr Uy and Mr Lui.

Mr Hindi also failed to disclose a pecuniary interest in the Landmark Square planning proposal.

His wife Mirielle Hindi had an interest in the development due to an agreement between Mr Lui's business One Capital and her own real estate agency.

Mrs Hindi stood to gain $500,000 from the agreement.

ICAC also said it was seeking advice from the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions on whether Mr Badalati, Mr Hindi, Mr Uy, Mrs Hindi and Mr Sansom should be charged with various offences.