Daryl Maguire has told a corruption inquiry that his relationship with Gladys Berejiklian may have begun up to seven years ago, contradicting what both parties have previously stated.
When Ms Berejiklian gave evidence on Monday, she suggested the relationship began in 2015.
But in a transcript that was posted on the ICAC website this evening, the former Wagga Wagga MP at one point said the relationship started in 2013.
“When do you think the relationship developed into something that could be fairly described as a close personal relationship as distinct from a friendship?” he was asked.
“Oh, I don’t know that I could put a date on it. We, we were always good friends and slowly over time the, the relationship developed. I couldn’t tell you when it started,” Mr Maguire responded.
When asked whether it’s “fair to say” he was in a “close personal relationship” in 2014, he said “yes”.
When asked if the same would apply to 2013, he said “yes” again.
Mr Maguire later noted he “originally said it was in 2015. “I originally said ’15 and I lean towards ’15 still, or late ’14. That was, that’s my recollection, somewhere there.”
The anti-corruption body apologised to the pair after the transcript of suppressed details of their relationship was accidentally uploaded online.
The transcript of the closed-door hearing, during which Mr Maguire was grilled about sensitive details of their relationship, was uploaded on Thursday afternoon and remained online for over 30 minutes.
Ruth McColl, who is presiding over the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry, opened Friday’s hearing with an apology to the premier and Mr Maguire.
“On behalf of the commission, I would like to apologise for that inadvertent uploading,” she said.
How the private transcript came to be uploaded will be internally investigated, she added.
But Ms Berejiklian’s lawyer Arthur Moses SC said the ICAC must go further and determine who downloaded the material from its website and order them to destroy it.
He said it was a violation of the premier’s privacy and security, but Ms McColl said the ICAC could not determine who downloaded the document.
Mr Moses also objected to the way Mr Maguire, who is being investigated for the misuse of his public office while an MP between 1999 and 2018, was questioned about Ms Berejiklian’s knowledge of his extra-political business dealings.
“At the end of the day, this commission is not a forum for a person’s reputation to be the basis of question marks if there is no basis for it,” he said.
“If matters are going to be put, they need to be put carefully and based properly on fact.”
The premier on Friday told reporters the uploading of the transcript of the private hearing session on the ICAC site was not “pleasant”.
“But I accept their apology,” she said.
The ICAC has accused Mr Maguire of using his public office to gain a benefit for himself. He has not denied this.
Since Ms Berejiklian was on Monday forced to publicly reveal her relationship with Mr Maguire, which ended in August 2020, the premier has been forced to defend her integrity.
On Friday, Mr Maguire told the inquiry he did shield the premier from details of his business dealings so as not to cause difficulties, but had used her as a “sounding board”.
“I thought it would cause her difficulties, so I limited the information that I gave her, yes … obviously, there is a conflict of interest and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
Mr Maguire left politics in August 2018, a month after a separate ICAC inquiry played tapes of him boasting to a property developer about his “mega big” Chinese client.
The former parliamentary secretary this week admitted using his MP status and taxpayer-funded staff for personal profit and said he had been in an “on-again, off-again” relationship with Ms Berejiklian when she was treasurer and then premier.
The inquiry heard on Thursday Mr Maguire expected to get a kickback for helping to “grease the wheels” in a $330 million property deal in western Sydney.
It heard a phone recording in which Mr Maguire tells Ms Berejiklian he would be able to pay his debts with the payment of up to $1.5 million from “the Badgerys Creek stuff”.
“Can you believe it, in one sale,” the then-Wagga MP said.
“I can believe it,” the premier replied.
The deal involved the sale of 233 hectares next to the proposed Western Sydney Airport to a Chinese developer.