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ABC News
ABC News
state political reporter Paige Cockburn

NSW premier's brother Jean-Claude Perrottet back in Sydney after evading Hills Shire Council inquiry

Parliamentary staff tried for weeks to locate Jean-Claude Perrottet to deliver him summons. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

The NSW premier's younger brother Jean-Claude Perrottet has reappeared in Sydney after evading a parliamentary inquiry into alleged misconduct which wrapped up last week.

Parliamentary staff had been trying to locate Liberal factional figure Jean-Claude Perrottet for weeks to deliver him summons to appear before an inquiry into the Hills Shire Council in Sydney's north west.  

At one stage, a private firm was even employed to search for Mr Perrottet around Sydney after he failed to return calls and emails.

The inquiry heard evidence Mr Perrottet and Liberal powerbroker Christian Ellis asked businessman Frits Maré for $50,000 as part of an effort to unseat the party's centre right factional powerbroker Alex Hawke.

On February 28, the inquiry received an unsigned and hand-delivered letter from Mr Perrottet indicating he was overseas and couldn't assist.

This morning, Mr Perrottet was filmed by Channel Nine in a Sydney street.

"I've made a statement, thank you. I've been overseas," he told a reporter.

He dodged questions about where precisely he had been.

"I've made a statement, thank you very much."

The Upper House inquiry, chaired by Greens MP Sue Higginson, had to conclude on March 3 when the pre-election caretaker period began.

Sue Higginson chaired the inquiry into deals between party operatives and developers in Sydney's Hills area. (By Nick Lowther)

Mr Perrottet was first called to give evidence on January 30 but the inquiry said attempts to serve summons at his work were met with indications he had taken "long leave".

In his letter to the inquiry, he denied all allegations made against him and attacked the inquiry for being a way to further "political ends" ahead of the March 25 election.

"Since seeing the media coverage, it is clear to me that I would never receive procedural fairness at the inquiry," it read.

The inquiry said Mr Perrottet's cooperation would have been central to confirm Mr Maré's evidence about the offer of $50,000 to conduct a branch-stacking operation to unseat Mr Hawke, the federal member for Mitchell.

There is no suggestion that Mr Maré actually contributed money to a branch-stacking operation.

Professional servers also unsuccessfully tried to track down Mr Ellis and his mother Hills Shire councillor and political staffer Virginia Ellis in and around Deniliquin in the state's south-west.

Despite one professional spending in excess of 17 hours searching several rural properties, neither were located.

Charles Perrottet declined his invitation to appear as a witness, saying he lived in Victoria. (Supplied: Facebook)

One of Dominic Perrottet's other brothers, factional powerbroker Charles Perrottet, was also called but eventually sent a letter to the inquiry explaining he no longer lived in New South Wales so was not required to give evidence.

"I decline your invitation. I am a resident of Victoria. I have resided in Victoria since January 2021."

For weeks, the premier has faced pressure over the whereabouts of his brothers and lashed out at reporters at one press conference to "leave my family out of it".

When asked on Tuesday whether he knew Jean-Claude had been overseas, he was tight lipped.

"I don't know, that's a matter for him."

Dominic Perrottet said the state director of NSW Liberals was investigating Mr Ellis.

"If anyone has done anything wrong, appropriate action should be taken and the book should be thrown at them," he said.

The Upper House inquiry was launched last December after Liberal Castle Hill MP Ray Williams made claims of deals between party operatives and developers in the Hills area.

Mr Williams alleged members of the NSW Liberal Party had been paid to install new councillors on the council to benefit development company Toplace.

The final report recommended that a new inquiry be established following the election, and that is should call on Mr Ellis, Charles Perrottet, Jean-Claude Perrottet and Toplace director Jean Nassif to give evidence.

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