Former Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell repays

FORMER Charlestown MP and ICAC target Andrew Cornwell has paid back the $10,000 donation he received from property developer and former Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy before the 2011 state election.

The NSW Electoral Commission revealed on Thursday that it would release $3.8 of the $4.4 million that it had been withholding from the Liberal Party because of what it said was the party’s failure to declare donations received before the 2011 state election.

The money was returned after the party submitted an updated disclosure, but almost $600,000 – the value of “unlawful donations” received by the party, was withheld. 

The commission said that Mr Cornwell repaid the money last week "without admissions" after it sent him a letter of demand in August.

In a statement the Electoral Commission said the former MP, who the Independent Commission Against Corruption recommended possible criminal charges against last month after the release of its Operation Spicer report, "had accepted an unlawful political donation from a prohibited donor".

“One of the matters examined as part of this investigation was a AU$10,000 cash donation for the benefit of former MP Andrew Cornwell,” the commission said.

“That donation was subsequently paid into the account of the Charlestown State Electoral Conference, NSW Liberal Party.

“In 2014 the ICAC heard that Mr Cornwell had received the donation from Mr McCloy in the lead up to the 2011 election.”

The long-delayed report released last month suggested a possible prosecution for Mr Cornwell and his wife Samantha Brookes for "giving false or misleading evidence" to the Commission during the hearing.

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