JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

ICAC tensions spill onto the street as associates of Chris Hartcher allegedly attack reporters

Date

Kate McClymont, Michaela Whitbourn

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Chris Hartcher leaves ICAC, media in tow

Former minister Chris Hartcher fails to avoid the media after attempting to evade questions by going through a shopping complex.

PT0M0S 620 349

Tensions inside a corruption inquiry have spilled out onto the street as associates of former Liberal state energy minister Chris Hartcher allegedly assaulted reporters after he left the witness box on Monday afternoon.

The dramatic scenes in the lift and outside the Independent Commission Against Corruption building in Sydney come after Mr Hartcher locked horns with the barrister leading the inquiry inside the hearing room.

Channel 7's state political reporter Lee Jeloscek was repeatedly kicked in the shins by a man understood to be Mr Hartcher's son.

Chris Hartcher departs ICAC after a fiery hearing.

Chris Hartcher departs ICAC after a fiery hearing. Photo: Wolter Peters

This occurred as Mr Hartcher tried to avoid the media by weaving through a series of shops within Sydney's CBD.

Two other reporters were shoved in the lift inside the ICAC building.

The former energy minister and the two young men finally jumped into a cab at Martin Place.

Channel 7 state political reporter Lee Jeloscek (left) was repeatedly kicked in the shins by a man understood to be the son of former minister Chris Hartcher.

Channel 7 state political reporter Lee Jeloscek (left) was repeatedly kicked in the shins by a man understood to be the son of former minister Chris Hartcher. Photo: Wolter Peters

Mr Hartcher, the alleged "mastermind" of schemes to channel tens of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to the Liberal Party, started giving evidence shortly before midday at the ICAC.

He said he could not recall "laundering" $4000 in Liberal Party cheques through his old law firm, Hartcher Reid, and directing the money be paid to Micky Tech, a company run by the partner of his long-term aide Ray Carter.

"I have already explained to you now on seven occasions that I don't recall," Mr Hartcher snapped.

Mr Watson interrupted with, "Do it again."

Mr Hartcher said Mr Carter's evidence that Mr Hartcher asked him to give him the money was "wrong" but stopped short of calling him a liar.

"I want you to know what I will be putting, Mr Hartcher ... you pocketed that $4000," said Mr Watson.

"I reject that absolutely!" said Mr Hartcher angrily.

When Mr Watson repeated the allegation, Mr Hartcher shouted, "I resent that!"

"Don't you DARE tell me that you resent anything!" Mr Watson shouted in return.

As the pair continued yelling at each other, Alister Henskens, SC, for Mr Hartcher, added to the mayhem by shouting "I object!" over the top.

Commissioner Megan Latham was forced to intervene.

"Can we all back off right now ... I don't want things to degenerate into a screaming match," she said.

"They are both setting each other off and they need to take a backwards step."

Mr Watson then started afresh by suggesting calmly that Mr Hartcher had instructed Mr Carter to give false testimony to the commission and that he used his nephew, a solicitor at Hartcher Reid, to launder money.

After Mr Henskens objected once again to the use of the word "launder", which he said "had a particular meaning within the Crimes Act", Mr Watson stated: "I want to make it clear. I am putting that Mr Hartcher laundered the money through Hartcher Reid."

This was a "rolled up, emotive, sensational, media grabbing proposition", Mr Henskens responded.

The ICAC is investigating allegations that Mr Hartcher was involved in a number of schemes to "wash" illegal donations to the Liberal Party before the last state election.

One was an alleged "sham company" called Eightbyfive, which the inquiry has heard billed property developers and other companies for fake services to disguise the fact they were making illegal donations.

The company was set up by Mr Hartcher's former adviser, Tim Koelma.

Mr Hartcher, the member for Terrigal, has denied he was involved in the schemes.

Mr Hartcher is the last witness to give evidence before Operation Spicer adjourns until August 4 to give investigators time to examine new evidence implicating former police minister Mike Gallacher in "serious electoral funding irregularities".

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo