‘I didn’t dupe her’: Pisasale’s alleged extortion victim

A FORMER taxi driver allegedly targeted by then Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale in an extortion attempt has denied he duped his then girlfriend.

Xin Li, who drove a taxi in 2016 when he began a relationship with the woman, has given evidence this morning in the extortion trial of Pisasale and two others that prosecutors allege carried out the offence in early 2017.

Mr Li told the court he was married in 2016 when he met Chinese-born woman Yutian Li, then 37.

He was driving a taxi when he met Li, who is also accused of extortion, at the airport.

The two started a relationship and were in daily contact on messaging app WeChat.

He said he was married at the time, but living in a different house to his wife.

Mr Li travelled with Yutian Li to ­­­­Bali and the Maldives, but he broke off the relationship in late December 2016.

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale arrives at the District Court in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale arrives at the District Court in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Li, who was also married, then went to Melbourne, he said.

Under cross-examination, Mr Li denied duping Li by telling her they would be married and keeping his marriage a secret.

"She told you one of the reasons she was separated from her husband was because her husband didn't want to have children," Li's barrister asked him this morning.

"..she told you she was desperate to have children because of her age."

Mr Li responded that he could not recall, and repeatedly denied telling her they would marry.

The court heard later phone calls played in which Pisasale phoned Mr Li posing first as a telemarketer running a health survey, then later as a private investigator.

In the call, he asks Mr Li to pay money to Li for the cost of the private investigation to learn the truth about his marital status.

"Are you happy to try to resolve this to mutual satisfaction or does she proceed with court," Pisasale is heard saying in the phone call.

Yutian Li arrives at the trial. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Yutian Li arrives at the trial. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

"Let me see if we can resolve this. Are you prepared to pay for some of the costs that it has cost her?"

When Li refuses, the phone call grows heated.

"We are going to the federal court," Pisasale says in the phone call.

"You need to get a lawyer. And she will be suing you for $200,000. She's got a good case. She has all the evidence showing where you have cheated her while you were married."

"We will be talking to the Australian Government as well

"This is Australia buddy, stop trying to blackmail her. You'll get exported out of Australia the way you are talking. I'm a very patient man and I know the Government and I know the Immigration Minister. You are a married man and you have cheated many women."

The trial continues.