Nick Di Girolamo says he considered burning Barry O'Farrell's thank-you note

The man who bought the bottle of Penfolds Grange that brought down former New South Wales premier Barry O'Farrell has broken his silence over the infamous gift. 

Nick Di Girolamo, the former chief executive of Australian Water Holdings (AWH), said he contemplated destroying the thank-you note he had received from Mr O'Farrell just before it was tendered as evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption in April this year. 

"It would have been illegal, but at that moment I was not thinking like a lawyer," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

"I knew it was a perversion of justice and still there was a small voice in my head asking, 'Should we have a bonfire season?'" 

Mr O'Farrell spectacularly resigned after the thank-you note he wrote to Mr Di Girolamo was tendered as evidence to ICAC, a day after the then premier told investigators he "could not recall the receipt of a gift of a bottle of 1959 Grange." 

Mr Di Girolamo told the Telegraph he and Mr O'Farrell had not spoken once since the premier's resignation and that he saw himself as a "snitch." 


"The decision I made and what people might think about that, still disturbs me to this day," he said. "There was an element of being a snitch, of saving my backside to get someone else. It also happenns that I rate that [O'Farrell] very highly." 

During his time at AWH Mr Di Girolamo paid himself a $1.1 million salary plus bonuses, which were then billed back to the state-owned Sydney Water.

He has been accused of creating sham documents to mislead ICAC and of being an "old-fashioned shyster fraudster."

The Obeid family paid Mr Di Girolamo $3 million for 30 per cent of AWH in November 2010, a transaction they claim is a loan.  

In February 2014, Mr Di Girolamo resigned as a director of the state-owned State Water Corporation after it was announced he was embroiled in the corruption inquiry.