Country Garden say it has "zero tolerance" for illegal behaviour after NSW ICAC Maguire allegations

Country Garden say it has
Country Garden say it has "zero tolerance" for illegal behaviour after NSW ICAC Maguire allegations

The Australian head of a Chinese property developer mentioned by a NSW government MP caught up in a corruption inquiry says Country Garden has "zero tolerance" for illegal behaviour.

Country Garden Australia chief executive G.T. Hu declined to comment to Fairfax Media on the explosive recording of MP Daryl Maguire's conversation with former Canterbury City councillor Michael Hawatt, after it was played in Friday's hearing of an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.

The Operation Dasha ICAC hearing was played a recorded telephone conversation from May 9, 2016, in which Mr Maguire claims to be the ­middle man between Country Garden and investors.

Maguire was recorded saying Country Garden could pay him “a couple of grand a day” to facilitate meetings.

Maguire resigned from the parliamentary Liberal Party with pressure on him quit the State Parliament where he represents Wagga Wagga. 

Maguire has held the safe seat since 1999 when he took over from Joe Schipp.

Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW premier is urging disgraced state MP Daryl Maguire to reconsider his position in politics after secret phone recordings of him discussing potential developer “dividends” were played at a Sydney corruption inquiry.

In a phone tap, Maguire said the developer was a "client" of his.

He discussed making a commission from the sale of a Campsie development site to the company.

"I need to talk to my consultants and my lawyer first," Mr Hu told The Australian Financial Review on Sunday. "What I can tell you is that Country Garden is a responsible company and we have zero tolerance for any illegal things [by] any employees."

Hu declined to say anything when asked why Maguire was heard to be asking Hawatt about shovel-ready sites that Country Garden could acquire in the May 2016 conversation
"I think you'd better ask him," Mr Hu said. "Because he mentioned our company. You'd better be asking him."
The Hong Kong-listed Country Garden, the largest Chinese developer by sales last year, entered Australia in 2013.
It hit the headlines in 2014 when Country Garden was in discussions to take over Sydney-based Meriton from Harry Triguboff.
The developer owns 429ha in Wollondilly, along with sites in Canterbury-Bankstown, Campsie and Ryde.

It was also revealed last month paying $69.88 million to secure Cawdor Road, Cawdor land it knew would benefit from the M9 orbital, months before the route of the orbital was known to locals.

It expanded into the house-and-land market last year, with a record-breaking $400 million purchase of a 363-hectare site in Melbourne's west.

In 2017, Fortune magazine released its list of Global 500 companies for 2017 with Country Garden included in the authoritative list for the first time.

Country Garden is a property development company based in Guangdong Province, China, owned by Yang Guoqiang's family. It focuses on building high-end residential property.

Founded in 1992 and listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange since 2007, it is controlled by China’s richest heiress, Yang Huiyan.

As a strong advocate and supporter of China's new urbanization process and a creator of green, Country Garden has reshaped over 500 Chinese towns from tier 1 to tier 5.

The Chinese property developer has over 900 projects ongoing outside of its home market.

Country Garden was not the only developer with links to Maguire.

In 2015 he visited the headquarters of Aoyuan International, the developer of Sydney's 38-level ONE30 Hyde Park development. 

An Aoyuan press release says Mr Maguire met the company's chairman Guo Zi Wen at its headquarters in Guangzhou in southern China in 2015.

Maguire told Hawatt, a key figure in the current ICAC inquiry into suspected corruption at Canterbury Council, that his client was "mega big", had "mega money" and was hungry for development sites with permits in place.

"I need a few things to feed my friends," Maguire tells Hawatt in the 2016 recording.

"They want 30 projects, rolling, and ideally they want something that's DA approved, a couple that are DA approved and ready to go. How much per unit site are they asking?"

Maguire told Hawatt that the commission of 1.5 per cent that the owner of the Canterbury Road development site was willing to pay Hawatt was not enough. 

"One point five per cent isn't enough divided by two, if you know what I'm talking about," Maguire said. "Three per cent's a lot better."

The Sunday Telegraph reported Maguire set up a meeting with Country Garden executives and the NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts last August.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal Wagga Wagga State MP Daryl Maguire organised an “introductory” meeting for Mr Roberts to meet with two CEOs from Country Garden on August 9 last year.

Staff advised a 15-minute meeting could occur only on the condition Country Garden observe the minister’s office protocol of not discussing any site-specific projects or proposals, and that a disclosure form be completed by the company prior to the meeting.

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