A Chinese businessman has told a corruption hearing that he paid former NSW Riverina MP Daryl Maguire a cash "allowance" for helping set up a trip to Pacific Island nations to scout for potential investments.
Ho Yuen Li, a Chinese citizen based in Hong Kong, on Wednesday told the Independent Commission Against Corruption he gave Wagga Wagga MP Mr Maguire $3500 at Sydney Airport following a trip to Samoa that was "not a holiday".
"The money was put inside a white sealed envelope. I gave it to him and he took it," Mr Li said.
Mr Li told ICAC he spoke to Mr Maguire about purchasing fruit export businesses in Wagga "maybe several times" and Mr Maguire took him on a tour of two "orange processing factories".
"We were seeking his help in Wagga," Mr Li said.
Mr Li said he formed the Shenzhen Asia Pacific Commerce Council with Mr Maguire as an "honorary chairman" during a meeting in his Parliament House office.
Mr Li agreed with counsel assisting ICAC Scott Robertson that Mr Maguire was expected to use his role in the Parliamentary Asia Pacific Friendship Group to help businesses in the Chinese city of Shenzen to find investment opportunities, including a proposed casino in Samoa.
Speaking through a Mandarin translator, Mr Li told ICAC "our understanding, because of his role as chairman of the friendship association, it was his responsibility to promote business".
Mr Li said he had discussions with Mr Maguire and his self-described associates, Maggie Wang and Gordon Tse, about which countries to visit to investigate business opportunities.
Mr Li said the trade group paid for a trip to South Pacific nations including Vanuatu and Fiji, which Mr Maguire attended, using funds raised from "big businesses" in Shenzhen who paid upfront commissions to find investments.
Mr Li said the Shenzhen trade group decided to punish Mr Maguire after he, in Mr Robertson's words, "botched" the schedule for a second South Pacific trip to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
"There was meant to be a party to welcome us and take us around but they never showed up," Mr Li said.
Mr Li said "you could say that" he was upset with Mr Maguire for also failing to secure a visit to an aquaculture company and withheld a second cash payment.
"I called the director general [of the commerce council] in Shenzhen and he was also unhappy. He agreed not to give him an allowance," Mr Li said.
Mr Li said Mr Maguire introduced to him Tonga consul-general Louise Raedler-Waterhouse, the daughter of bookmaker Bill Waterhouse, to discuss a development near Sydney West Airport that fell through because the area was "too noisy".