Labor rising star Chris Minns has been further embroiled in an explosive corruption inquiry after revelations at the ICAC on Monday.
Sydney restaurant owner Jonathan Yee confessed to the Independent Commission Against Corruption that he was one of the “masterminds” behind the fake donor scheme, designed to circumvent political donation laws.
The scheme made headlines last month when it was revealed exiled Chinese billionaire property developer Huang Xiangmo hand-delivered $100,000 in an Aldi bag to NSW Labor headquarters after a Chinese Friends of Labor dinner in Sydney. Mr Huang sat at the head table alongside former Labor leaders Bill Shorten and Luke Foley.
Property developers are banned from making political donations in NSW and individuals cannot give more than $5000. ICAC has heard Labor used “straw donors” to circumvent the law.
In addition to the now-infamous $100,000 in an Aldi bag, Mr Yee said he was asked to take part in a scheme to get 10 people sign blank cheques for $900 each, with those people later reimbursed with cash. That $9000 was slated for Mr Minns’ 2015 election campaign.
The fake donor scandal has already claimed the scalp of NSW Labor General Secretary Kaila Murnain, and prompted the party to shut down its “Chinese Friends of Labor” group.