By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Ahead of a 60 Minutes report ‘The Faceless Man’ on his alleged branch-stacking, MP Adem Somyurek had been anxious to find out about a staffer he’d employed the previous year.
The staffer was a “friend” of Greater Dandenong councillor and ALP factional ally Loi Truong (see main story).
At the time, Mr Somyurek was trying to work out “what have I done wrong”, he told the IBAC Operation Watts inquiry on 11 November.
In a covert phone tap on 14 June 2020, he told then-Cabinet Minister and faction ally Robin Scott: “I just got an anxiety that they had some f***ing loose Vietnamese woman who f***ing I put on for Loi.
“I wonder what the f*** she did, like she was f***ing mad.”
He told Mr Scott he hadn’t even met the staff in the context of hiring her.
“What do you even say when you haven’t even met the staff, what do you say to that?” Mr Somyurek said.
“You’re busy, you’re a minister,” Mr Scott replied.
Five minutes later, Mr Somyurek rang Cr Truong to confirm that the councillor was still “in contact” and “friends” with her.
“Do you think she’s spoken to anyone? 60 Minutes or anything?”
“No, no, no. No, I don’t think so,” Cr Truong replied, confirming she was a “very good friend”.
“She loyal with us. One hundred per cent…. She’s good, she will do what we need.”
Mr Somyruek asked Cr Truong to find out if the staffer spoke to 60 Minutes and what period she worked for him.
In a phone tap in February 2020, Mr Somyurek said he’d have to “fix up” paying for memberships in Springvale because Cr Truong “fixing it up is indexed to employment”.
Instead, Mr Somyurek paid for the memberships in exchange for work for his son at his factional ally and Holt MP Anthony Byrne’s electorate office.
At the inquiry, IBAC Counsel Assisting, Chris Carr asserted: “What you were saying was that for Loi to pay for memberships is a quid pro quo in return for which you give him a place on your staff; correct?”
Mr Somyurek denied this, saying the female staffer was employed months before the covert recording.
“There’s no way in the world that I will ever enter into an agreement like that with Mr Truong.
“I crossed multiple lines, but it didn’t happen.“