Australian politician tells inquiry Chinese visa scheme was a scam

SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian politician at the centre of a corruption probe told an inquiry on Wednesday that he had received envelopes full of thousands of dollars in cash at his parliament office as part of a scheme for Chinese nationals to fraudulently acquire visas.

Daryl Maguire, who quit the New South Wales (NSW) state parliament in 2018, agreed with the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption that the scheme, where Chinese nationals paid large sums for a business in NSW to pretend they were employed there, was a scam.

Maguire and his business associate, Maggie Wang, received up to A$20,000 ($14,000) for each business they recruited to the scheme. He agreed it was a breach of public trust.

Wang had told the inquiry on Tuesday that she had shared profits from the scheme with Maguire, and also admitted lying to investigators.

Maguire accepted another allegation heard by the inquiry

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Asia-Pacific stocks mostly up; Chinese yuan moves following central bank action

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific mostly advanced on Monday, with investors monitoring the Chinese yuan’s movements.

Mainland Chinese stocks were among the biggest gainers regionally, with the Shanghai composite up 2.64% to close at about 3,358.46 while the Shenzhen component jumped 3.151% to finish its trading day at approximately 13,708.07.

The moves in Chinese stocks came after state media outlet Xinhua reported Sunday that the country “unveiled a new comprehensive reform plan for Shenzhen,” giving local authorities there a “more direct and greater say in business” in areas such as carrying out market-based economic reforms.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also surged 2.2% to close at 24,649.68. Shares of Chinese banks listed in the city soared: China Construction Bank added 5.58%, ICBC was up 5.74% while Bank of China gained 4.18%.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.49% to close at 2,403.73.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were higher on the day,

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