The Australian Federal Police says it lacks sufficient evidence to continue its investigation into whether Liberal Democrat Candidate Roostam Sadri was given a spot on the party’s ticket at the last election in exchange for a $500,000 donation.

The Australian Electoral Commission donations published today show Sadri donated much less than he is alleged to have promised, donating $200,000 to the party in the lead-up to the election. As Crikey reported at the time, Sadri, a prominent businessman in South Australia, was the party’s lead candidate. A leaked document had suggested that Sadri had entered into an agreement with the LDP for a $500,000 donation to have his name placed “at the top of the Liberal Democrat’s column on the [State to be specified] Senate ballot paper”.

The AEC referred the matter to the AFP in June, and the AFP launched an investigation towards the end of last year. Sadri was the highest donor to the LDP in the last financial year, but his donation did not help his electoral chances. Sadri received just 358 first preference votes at the election, with the party receiving 6491 votes, well short of the quota.

A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police told Crikey in a statement today that there was insufficient evidence to continue the investigation.

“The Australian Federal Police has undertaken a thorough investigation of an allegation of bribery referred by the Australian Electoral Commission in respect of Mr Roostam Sadri. The AFP has concluded there is insufficient evidence to support a breach of Commonwealth law and will not be taking any further action or making further comment in respect of the matter.”

The crimes Sadri was accused of carried penalties of $5000 or two years’ imprisonment under the Commonwealth Electoral Act. If Sadri had been elected and then convicted, his election could have been voided.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey