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Sinodinos cleared in NSW corruption report

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A NSW corruption watchdog report has made no findings against federal Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos.

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The long-awaited report from Independent Commission Against Corruption into water infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings found three former NSW Labor ministers Tony Kelly, Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi, did engage in serious corrupt conduct.

Sinodinos was the first scalp in the ICAC investigations into the matter.

The NSW senator stood aside as assistant treasurer in March 2014, following questions over his time as chairman of AWH, but was reinstated 18 months later amid expectations he would be cleared.

The ICAC report released on Thursday mentions Sinodinos 24 times, but makes no specific recommendations about him.

Sinodinos has responded to the report, noting there was no “adverse findings or commentary” against him.

“This brings to an end a long and comprehensive process,” he said in a statement.

“I thank my family and colleagues for their support throughout.”

The AWH board resolved in January 2011 to give Sinodinos a five per cent equity share in AWH and a 2.5 per cent equity share bonus should AWH successfully negotiate a public private partnership with the NSW Government.

Sinodinos had not revealed he stood to make a financial gain from a deal in his discussions with Greg Pearce, the then NSW finance minister or Peter McConnell who was then NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s chief of staff.

Sinodinos told the ICAC inquiry it never occurred to him that he needed to make such a disclosure because it was not relevant to whether the proposal had merit.

“When speaking with Mr Pearce and Mr McConnell, Mr Sinodinos was acting in his capacity as chairman of AWH,” the report said.

“He was not a public official and was under no legal obligation to disclose to them that he stood to gain financially from a favourable decision.”

– AAP

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