The NSW Labor Party’s headquarters in Sydney were raided on the morning of Dec. 18 by the state’s corruption watchdog, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, according to reports. The raid is reportedly related to a fundraising dinner for Chinese supporters.
ICAC raided the Sussex Street office in Sydney’s central business district.
ICAC is reportedly looking for financial documents as part of an ongoing investigation into party donations. Senior Labor sources have confirmed that the raid relates to a 2015 annual Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising event, which Labor leader Bill Shorten attended, according to The Australian. The event was attended by more than 600 people, including the state opposition leader at the time, Luke Foley, and Federal MP Chris Bowen. The donations for the fundraiser went to the party’s campaign account for the state election.
Bill Shorten was present with other senior party leaders at a Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner in Sydney that is believed to be the focus of an ICAC raid on the NSW ALP’s headquarters https://t.co/gUvqt0q6NF
— The Australian (@australian) December 18, 2018
NSW Labor has released a statement, sighted by Sky News, saying: “The donations in question were received in 2015 and have been fully investigated by the NSW Electoral Commission with the full cooperation of NSW Labor, including the provision of all relevant documents.”
A Labor party source told AAP that ICAC had accessed the office’s computers. The same source said the raid had coincided with the Australian Labor Party’s national conference in Adelaide that was being attended by a number of senior Labor officials, including NSW ALP General Secretary Kaila Murnain.
“It’s clearly intentional,” the party source commented regarding the timing of the raid, according to AAP.
The specific details of the investigation remain unclear. However, the NSW Labor Party has been known to have had alleged close ties with wealthy businessmen from the Chinese community in Sydney, according to The Australian.
NSW federal Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite said that NSW Labor staff were cooperating with ICAC and that the anti-corruption watchdog does “great work.”
An ICAC spokeswoman said the corruption investigator would not be commenting on operational matters, according to reports.
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