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Sidoti signed docs on request, ICAC told

·3-min read

Outcast Liberal MP John Sidoti signed whatever his parents asked him to and therefore didn't know about some of his property and business interests, the NSW corruption watchdog has heard.

The member for Drummoyne appeared as a witness at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry for the first time on Tuesday.

The four-week ICAC inquiry is airing allegations Mr Sidoti failed to disclose some of his financial interests and misused his position to influence planning decisions in a suburb in Sydney's inner-west between 2011 and 2018.

The corruption watchdog on Tuesday heard the MP, who now sits on the cross bench, was a trustee of a family super fund which owned a property in Five Dock.

Mr Sidoti, his wife and his parents were all members and trustees of the fund, and were therefore all named on the property titles.

The super fund is also linked to the Sidoti Family Trust, of which Mr Sidoti, his wife and children are beneficiaries.

Mr Sidoti did not declare his financial interest in the property - 120 Great North Road - or his positions as trustee and beneficiary as required as part of his roles in parliament.

The property forms part of a development plan advanced by Mr Sidoti and a group of friends, which the counsel assisting argues the MP sought to improperly influence councillors over.

ICAC previously heard Mr Sidoti engaged town planners to lobby council into rezoning the area to allow for more development on the sites owned by his family and friends.

But Mr Sidoti told the inquiry he had no knowledge he was a trustee of the family business, and therefore had a financial interest in the property, until the allegations were raised in parliament in 2017.

That's despite Mr Sidoti admitting he signed documents in his capacity as a trustee, including a sale contract and a form consenting to his appointment to the position.

"I'm not sure what I've signed to be honest with you," he said.

"Prior to entering parliament, I was employed by my parents so ... you know, you sign that, sign this, sign that.

"I was just thought it was my role as a son, as an employee."

Mr Sidoti insisted he didn't read the documents - from his accountant or parents - that he signed, a pattern that continued while he was in parliament.

"Are there any documents that you actually read before you sign?" Mr Ranken asked.

"I read all documents except for these ones," Mr Sidoti said.

His wife Sandra, who gave evidence earlier in the day, advanced the same argument.

She was asked about her tax returns, which showed payments totalling over $700,000 from the family company.

Mrs Sidoti was unemployed at the time, but says the fact that she even needed to sign an income tax return did not raise red flags.

"The process is the same: Sandra, here's your tax return. Follow the yellow tabs and sign here," she said.

Mr Sidoti also said the fact his wife was signing tax returns didn't alert him to the existence of his family business interests because he was too busy to think about it deeply.

"Knowing how important the disclosure of pecuniary interests is for ministers and members of parliament, including spouses' income, why would you not have given that important matter your attention, no matter how busy you were?" Commissioner Peter Hall QC said.

"It should have been," he said.

Mr Sidoti has previously said he "absolutely rejects the allegations" of impropriety and had always acted with integrity and honour.

The former sports minister resigned from the NSW government cabinet in March.

He then also withdrew from the Liberal partyroom, citing the allegations as a distraction for his colleagues.

The inquiry continues.