ICAC Operation Galley Hurstville Georges River Council Corruption Inquiry Sees Escorts Blackmail Video
A Chinese property developer secretly recorded Australian local councilors holding hands with escorts during a ‘boys weekend’ trip to China, a corruption probe has found.
The high-class sex workers were filmed with the balding middle-aged men, who sat on the Hurstville/Georges River Council in Sydney’s southwest, in a sleazy honey trap.
The young women, dressed in short, form-fitting dresses, are seen leading former mayor Vincenzo Badalati and councilor Philip Sansom hand in hand and having dinner together.
Now Mr Badalati has admitted the seedy video was taken as part of a blackmail plot which is now in the sights of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.
A Chinese property developer secretly filmed Sydney councilors accompanying them and escorts on luxury ‘boys weekend’ trips to China, a corruption probe has found
The high class sex workers were filmed making out against the balding middle aged men before being seen leading them hand in hand
The ICAC is investigating alleged bribes for planning approval at Hurstville/Georges River Council Mayor Badalati, Councilor Sansom and former Deputy Mayor Constantine Hindi allegedly accepted bribes for support developments between 2014 and 2021.
Clifton Wong, 62, was found dead in his office after giving evidence to alleged corruption at Sydney’s Hurstville Council
The investigation was rocked by the apparent suicide earlier this month of one of the advisers called to testify.
Clifton Wong, 62, was found dead in his Sydney office on July 6, eight days after telling the inquest how he failed to report a developer who allegedly slipped $10,000 from former deputy mayor Hindi.
Real estate developer Ching Wah Uy, known as Phillip Uy, was behind plans to build the $128 million Landmark One hotel, retail and residential complex and a $44 million 75-apartment tower dollars in Hurstville.
The inquest had previously heard that the promoter regularly sends the advisers to China for ‘boys weekends’, with Mr Uy often picking up the bill.
But he secretly shot the advisers’ videos with the escorts and paid them off as part of a blackmail plot, Mr Badalati told the inquest.
The ICAC investigation heard that Phillip Uy and adviser Philip Sansom met escorts on several trips to China in 2014 and 2015.
Property developer Ching Wah Uy, known as Phillip Uy, was behind plans to build the $128million Landmark One hotel, retail and residential complex (pictured) and a 75-apartment tower block $29 million in Hurstville.
On Tuesday, explosive video footage emerged showing Sansom and Badalati having dinner with the escorts and the couple walking hand-in-hand with them.
The developer can briefly be seen in a reflection pretending to make a call on his phone as he secretly recorded the counselors with the young women.
The former mayor of Hurstville admitted the woman he was filmed with was an escort, but he had not paid for her services and believed Mr Uy had.
“Having seen this video and the other, I think it was a blackmail tool,” he told the ICAC after being confronted with clips from March 2013 and again in July 2013.
“It’s obvious to me now.”
Former mayor Vincenzo Badalati (centre) admitted the woman he was filmed with was an escort, but he hadn’t paid for her services and believed developer Phillip Uy (left) had
Vincenzo Badalati reportedly received $70,000 for supporting the 75-unit building, and then he and Deputy Mayor Hindi each reportedly received $100,000 for supporting the Landmark One development.
Former Hurstville Mayor Vincenzo Badalati admitted the woman he was filmed with was an escort
He said he believed the footage had been shot to be used against him and to force him to support Mr Uy’s development planning approval.
“If it had been shown to your family at the time, you would have been very embarrassed?” The lawyer assisting the Commission asked him Zelie Heger.
He said it would have been, but admitted that Mr Uy had not blackmailed him and had only seen the footage for the first time during the investigation.
On Monday, the ICAC investigation heard that Mr. Uy and adviser Sansom had also met escorts on several trips to China in 2014 and 2015.
Receipts presented at the inquest revealed that Mr. Uy had spent thousands of dollars on flights and hotel accommodation for Mr. Sansom, who claimed to have reimbursed some flight costs.
When Ms Heger said it was a ‘significant conflict of interest’, he admitted he should have said he had a ‘non-pecuniary interest’.
Phillip Uy has admitted taking a photo of around $300,000 in cash lying on an ironing board in his Rhodes flat in Sydney
Mr Badalati has previously admitted to accepting alleged $170,000 bribes from Mr Uy for supporting planning approval for his two developments in 2016, despite opposition from council staff .
Phillip Uy denies giving the bribes and said he was taking the money to Hong Kong
He would have received $70,000 for supporting the 75-unit building, and then he and Deputy Mayor Hindi would each have received $100,000 for supporting the development of Landmark One.
‘[Mr Uy] opened his boot and gave us two bags each [and said] “Thank you for your help on Landmark,” Mr Badalati told the inquiry in June.
Mr Uy denies paying bribes, but admitted taking a photo of around $300,000 in cash lying on an ironing board in his Rhodes flat in Sydney.
He said he withdrew the money to take it back to Hong Kong with him.
The investigation is continuing.
TIMELINE OF THE ALLEGED CORRUPTION PLOT
2011/12 – Phillip Uy reportedly gave Constantine Hindi $10,000 to back his bid to buy a council-owned car park in Hurstville
MARCH 2013 – Vincenzo Badalati and Philip Sansom are filmed with escorts after being secretly taped by Mr. Uy
JULY 2013 – Mr. Badalati and Mr. Sansom are again filmed with escorts and recorded secretly by Mr. Uy
OCTOBER 2014 – DA is filed for $44 million in a 75-unit apartment building at Treacy St in Hurstville.
2014/15 – Mr. Sansom and Mr. Uy take repeated “boys weekend” trips to China, allegedly funded by Mr. Uy
2015 – Mr Badalati says he is given a bag full of $70,000 by Mr Uy at a cafe in Kingsgrove
JUNE 2015 – Planning proposal for the Landmark One 375 apartments, 200 bedroom hotel and retail complex in Forest Road, Hurstville
2016 – Mr Badalati says he and Mr Hindi met Mr Uy in a park in Rhodes and they both received $100,000, stuffed into two bags each
APRIL 12, 2016 – Mr. Badalati and Mr. Hindi are pictured with developers Yuqing Liu and Wensheng Liu in China
APRIL 20, 2016 – Hurstville City Council approves Mr. Yu’s Landmark One and Treacy Street developments
MAY 12, 2016 – Hurstville Council dissolved and then merged with Kogarah Council and renamed Georges River Council
SEPTEMBER 2017 – Mr. Badalati and Mr. Hindi are re-elected to the new board. Mr. Sansom is not.
JULY 23, 2018 – Georges River Council rezones Landmark One proposal site
JULY 25, 2018 – Mr Uy takes a photo of around $300,000 laid out on an ironing board in his apartment in Rhodes
DECEMBER 2021 – MM. Badalati and Hindi not standing for election
JUNE 14, 2022 – ICAC Operation Galley begins on bribery allegations
JUNE 28, 2022 – Clifton Wong testifies he knew about the $10,000 bribe allegedly paid to Mr Hindi but said nothing at the time
JULY 6, 2022 – Mr. Wong is found dead at his home