A construction executive authorised false invoices to disguise payments of $100,000 a year to the Australian Workers Union under an agreement started by now federal Labor leader Bill Shorten, a royal commission has heard.

Julian Rzesniowiecki, the former head of human resources on the Thiess-John Holland joint venture that built Melbourne’s EastLink freeway, told the trade union royal commission he reached an agreement in 2005 with former Victorian AWU assistant secretary, Cesar Melhem, on how to pay money to the union as part of…