NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s brother was finally tracked down on Tuesday morning after failing to show up for a corruption hearing at the state parliament.
After being missing for a month while summons servers looked for him, Jean-Claude Perrottet was ambushed by a TV crew on a quiet suburban Sydney street.
Mr Perrottet managed to avoid appearing at the inquiry into the Hills Shire Council in Sydney’s north, which was sparked by claims made under parliamentary privilege by state Liberal MP Ray Williams of deals between party operatives and developers.
Dressed in a green polo shirt, khaki shorts and brown sand shoes, he seemed shocked to be approached by a 9News reporter asking ‘Where have you been?’
‘I’ve been overseas,’ Mr Perrottet replied, though he is now reported to be staying with relatives.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s brother Jean-Claude (pictured) has finally been tracked down after failing to show up for a corruption hearing at the state parliament
He had a simple answer for why he didn’t appear at the inquiry, saying ‘As I put it in my statement, I was overseas.’
He had no reply, though, when asked ‘Why did you try and dodge it?’
The inquiry, which ended last week without managing to summons Mr Perrottet, heard claims of attempted Liberal Party branch stacking and an alleged $50,000 bid to unseat federal Liberal MP Alex Hawke from his Mitchell electorate in 2019.
Mr Williams alleged Liberal Party members had been paid to install new councillors on the council to benefit a development company called Toplace.
Liberal powerbroker Christian Ellis was also called to appear but also could not be tracked down to be served with a summons. He is still missing.
The committee said it was the most committed, serious and coordinated avoidance it had ever seen.
Its final report recommended a new inquiry be established after the election, and that it should call on Jean-Claude Perrottet, Charles Perrottet, Christian Ellis and Toplace director Jean Nassif to give evidence.
Mr Nassif is currently in Lebanon. His glamorous lawyer daughter Ashlyn Nassif, 27, faced Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court last Wednesday charged with fraud after four family properties, including her father’s home and office, were raided.
Ashlyn Nassif, 27, faced Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court last Wednesday charged with fraud after four family properties, including her father Jean’s home and office, were raided
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (centre) is pictured with his wife Helen campaigning ahead of the March 25 election (holding baby Celeste)
One of Dominic Perrottet’s other brothers, Charles, was also called but sent a letter to the inquiry saying as he no longer lived in NSW he was not required to give evidence.
‘I decline your invitation. I am a resident of Victoria. I have resided in Victoria since January 2021,’ he wrote.
After initially warning the media to ‘leave my family out of it’ and refusing to answer questions, Premier Perrottet eventually announced an internal Liberal Party investigation into the claims.
‘The state director from the organisation is looking into those matters,’ he said.
‘And as I’ve said, if anyone has done anything wrong, appropriate action should be taken, the book should be thrown at them.’
Jean-Claude Perrottet (pictured left), who was the subject of a state-wide search to serve him with a summons to appear before an inquiry, is now holed up at his in-laws’ home
Out campaigning on Tuesday, Mr Perrottet was asked yet again if he did not know where his brother had been.
He simply replied, ‘That’s correct.’
The Premier had previously blamed Labor and the Greens for orchestrating the inquiry to embarrass him in the lead up to the March 25 state election.
On Tuesday morning, an unidentified man going into the same house Jean-Claude Perrottet had entered was asked if this was all just a ‘Labor smear campaign?’
He shrugged his shoulders and said ‘Probably.’