A former high-flying Senate candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party is being investigated by the Australian Federal Police over a donation to the party before he was picked as its Senate candidate at the last election.

Roostam Sadri, a prominent businessman in South Australia, was the Liberal Democratic Party’s lead Senate candidate in South Australia. Ultimately, his candidacy was not a success; Sadri secured 358 first preference votes at the election, while the party received 6491, not enough for a quota.

His candidacy was shrouded in controversy. Sadri allegedly promised to pay $500,000 to the Liberal Democratic Party in exchange for listing Sadri “at the top of the Liberal Democrat’s column on the [State to be specified] Senate ballot paper”. Ultimately, Sadri stood for the Senate in South Australia, with the Liberal Democrats describing the payment as a “voluntary contribution”.

In June, Crikey reported that the AEC had referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police for investigation, with a source close to the matter suggesting it was an open and shut case of breaching the Commonwealth Electoral Act on bribery grounds. The AFP has now confirmed that after evaluating the claim made by the AEC, police launched an investigation on July 14, and it is still ongoing.

“Whilst this matter remains an ongoing investigation, it is not appropriate to provide further comment,” a spokesperson for the AFP said.

Sadri faces penalties of $5,000 or two years’ imprisonment under the Commonwealth Electoral Act. If Sadri had been elected, his election could have been voided.

During the election, Sadri was also facing charges for flying without a pilot’s licence.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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