The Mayor of Canada Bay, Angelo Tsirekas, helped property developers fast-track applications in exchange for overseas flights and accommodation, a corruption inquiry has heard.
NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is probing allegations Mr Tsirekas abused his position and failed to disclose conflicts of interest.
On the first day of hearings on Tuesday, counsel assisting Jamie Darams said Mr Tsirekas created a network of developers and professionals to help a series of projects clear his own council’s planning hurdles.
According to ABC News, the network allegedly involved developers I-Prosperity, Billbergia and Prolet, advisor Joseph Chidiac, real estate agent Francesco Colacicco, accountant Frank Bruzzano, former town planner David Furlong and City of Canada Bay Council’s general manager Gary Sawyer.
On Tuesday, the ICAC heard evidence involving Mr Tsirekas and Chinese developer I-Prosperity, which proposed building a 400-unit apartment block on Marquet Street in Rhodes in 2016.
Chief commissioner Peter Hall heard claims Cr Tsirekas accepted several developer-funded trips to Shanghai and Lebanon, following a series of approvals by the now-liquidated iProsperity Group.
The hearing into allegations surrounding Mr Tsirekas is expected to continue for four weeks.
In response, a spokesman for Canada Bay Council told The Sydney Morning Herald the Mayor had been granted a leave of absence “for personal reasons” for the duration of the hearing.
Mr Tsirekas later told the Herald he had not made any further decisions about his role “at this stage.”
“I’m proceeding, I’m going forward and defending myself, and we’ll leave it at that,” he concluded.