Media Release: Second arrest for dealing in $63 million in proceeds of crime
Release Date: Thursday, May 03 2012, 11:35 AM
This is a joint media release between the AFP and the ATO.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has today charged a second man with conspiring to dishonestly cause a loss to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and conspiring to deal in the proceeds of crime to the value of $63 million as part of an ongoing Project Wickenby investigation.
Following enquiries overseas, the AFP arrested a 47-year-old man at Sydney Airport this morning after he arrived on a flight from Dubai.
This arrest follows on from last week’s operation where search warrants were executed at private and commercial premises across NSW and QLD.
Assets linked to the 47-year-old man and his business associates were restrained last week, including real estate in Sydney and on the Gold Coast. Luxury items were also restrained, including a number of Rolls Royce’s, a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin, a Mercedes, a BMW and yachts.
It will be alleged in court that the accused and his business associate, fraudulently over inflated the purchase price of intellectual property then donated the tax losses associated with the depreciation of the intellectual property to a complex unit trust structure and thus earning fees in excess of $63million over a three year period.
It will be further alleged these funds were then laundered through an account in the UK and numerous accounts in Hong Kong before being transferred back into Australia.
The scheme was identified by the ATO Trust taskforce which was established to focus on aggressive arrangements that attempt to exploit perceived weaknesses in tax legislation for trusts.
This arrest is part of the largest tax fraud investigation since Project Wikenby was launched in 2006. The seven month joint investigation between the AFP and ATO is continuing, with enquiries into this complex money laundering scheme ongoing.
Project Wickenby brings together resources from the ATO, AFP, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), Australian Government Solicitor and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
The 47-year-old man, who was arrested today, has been charged with the following:
- Conspiracy to dishonestly cause a loss to a third person, namely the Australian Taxation Office, contrary to Sections 135.4(3) and 11.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
- Conspiracy to deal in the proceeds of crime of $AU 1 million or more, contrary to Sections 400.3(1) and 11.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
The man is expected to appear in Sydney Central Local Court today (3 May 2012). The offences carry maximum penalties of 10 and 25 years imprisonment respectively.
Read more information on last week’s arrest and the operation: http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/news/afp/2012/april/40-million-in-assets-restrained-tax-evasion-and-money-laundering-scheme-dismantled.aspx
Notes to media:
Images of the assets seized in Sydney are available. Please contact AFP National Media to obtain copies of these images.
AFP and ATO enquiries into this complex investigation are ongoing and further arrests have not been ruled out. As this is an ongoing investigation, it is inappropriate for the AFP or the ATO to provide further comment at this stage.
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333
ATO Media (02) 6216 1901