Disgraced businessman has been jailed for at least two years and three months for lying for his business interests.
Salim Mehajer Jailed For Lying To Australian State Court
The 34-year-old had pleaded not guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of making a false statement under oath, but New South Wales District Court Judge Peter Zahra found he falsified documents and claims.
Mehajer still faces separate charges in other matters, but for this judge-alone case, he will first be eligible for parole on Jan. 18, 2023.
Judge Zahra dismissed medical expert evidence that suggested he may have been influenced by his mental health conditions, namely bipolar, saying Mehajer’s behavior was carefully planned.
“In my view, he engaged in many deliberate acts over many months and was calculated and persistent,” Judge Zahra said on April 23.
Mejaher showed a high-level and detailed knowledge of the legal system preparing his false affidavits and persisting with his false statements under cross-examination, Judge Zahra said.
“I accept the crown submission that he presented a complex web of lies that went to the heart of what the court is trying to assess.”
Mehajer’s barrister Evan James informed the court last month his client had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and “clear need of comprehensive and long-term treatment”.
The charges arose from affidavits Mehajer tendered in earlier bail applications, arguing he needed the condition of his curfew to be lifted to work as a building manager on a property development he had a strong interest in.
But Judge Zahra found he did not hold this position and was trying to wrest it back from liquidators and appear to investors that he was still in control of the towers.
The controversial businessman wrote a letter to the court expressing his deep regret for his actions caused by immense pressure after administrators were brought in to control his development site.
“I was in the view I had just lost everybody’s money many families had invested their life savings with me,” it read.
It also described his delusions following the failing establishment, “I was in denial and disbelief, my mind wouldn’t let me believe.”
He said spending most of the past five months in segregation due to his high-media profile was amongst the most stringent and difficult any inmate could suffer.
He has already launched an appeal against the convictions in the Supreme Court. Mehajer was sentenced to a maximum term in prison of three years and six months.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ritaban Misra)