He says he never received it but a $3000 bottle of wine has certainly left a nasty taste in the mouth of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.
The NSW corruption watchdog heard the Penfolds Grange was sent to the Liberal leader by then-Australian Water Holdings boss Nick Di Girolamo in an attempt to “butter up” the premier to support a lucrative water deal.
If Mr Di Girolamo’s allegation is true, Mr O’Farrell would’ve had to declare the gift on his pecuniary interests register – something he has not done.
Throughout the early parts of his testimony at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Mr O’Farrell was his usual confident self.
He joked about his weight and even poked fun at Counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson SC.
But his confidence took a hit when Mr Watson showed him a record of a 28-second telephone call from his mobile number to Mr Di Girolamo’s, made about 9.30pm on April 20, 2011 – around the same time that Mr Di Girolamo says he received a thank you call from the premier.
Mr O’Farrell is now facing questions about his future with one reporter asking whether he will resign if Mr Di Girolamo’s claims are substantiated.
“I am conscious (that) anyone who walks into the commission, a court of law or gives a statement to police is conscious of the need to tell the truth,” Mr O’Farrell replied.
“I’ve told the truth today, I’ve been very happy to assist the Independent Commission Against Corruption and I’ll always assist the commission,” he concluded, before asking the reporters to move onto other questions.
The truth of the matter aside, the ICAC appearance could still hurt Mr O’Farrell’s premiership, with questions remaining over his phone call to Mr Di Girolamo.