Ipswich, AU — Ex-mayor Paul Pisasale sentenced to two years’ prison after being found guilty of extortion of a Sydney taxi driver.
According to reports, Pisasale posed as a private investigator to the taxi driver on behalf of Yutian Li after she gave him “sexual services”. He allegedly extorted up to $10,000.
Furthermore, the driver, Xin Li, was apparently Ms. Li’s ex-lover. This was despite the fact that both of them were married to other people.
On January of 2017, Ms. Li met Pisasale, shortly after she and the Sydney cabbie broke up. Yutian Li then complained to Pisasale that Xin Li had concealed the fact he had a wife.
Ex-mayor Pisasale’s phone conversations retrieved by the police
Pisasale’s trial in the Brisbane District Court heard that Pisasale posed as a PI and made threats against Xin Li. The jury played 20 recorded phone conversations where the nature of his relationship with Yutian Li was established.
One of the phone calls included Pisasale’s friend saying he asked Yutian Li to give Pisasale “the girlfriend experience” and that “the next two hours are completely free”.
In another phone call, Pisasale is heard saying he couldn’t continue to sleep with Ms. Li as she was “very naive” and in the “wrong trade”.
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) also intercepted the conversation in which Pisasale tells the driver that Ms. Li “doesn’t want to cause him harm” if he covers the cost of the “investigation”. The ex-mayor then proceeded to demand between $5000 and $10,000 from the driver to compensate Ms Li. Otherwise, the taxi driver would be taken to court and publicly exposed.
Pisasale pleaded not guilty to court, saying Xin Li “rightfully owed” the money to his former partner Yutian Li. According to him, Ms. Li suffered financial losses when she uprooted her life from Singapore to be with Xin Li.
However, Crownprosecutor Sarah Farnden told him Xin Li owed Yutian Li nothing. Ms. Li and Pisasale wanted money for her to stay in Australia.
The former mayor was sentenced to 2 years in prison which was suspended after 12 months of service. Yutian Li and Ipswich lawyer Cameron McKenzie have also been found guilty of extortion over the plot.