Media Release: ATO investigates $65m GST fraud in gold bullion trade

Release Date: Wednesday, October 30 2013, 12:39 PM

This media release has been published on behalf of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The ATO is investigating companies in the gold bullion industry suspected of GST fraud totalling more than $65 million.

The ATO, Australian Federal Police and Australian Crime Commission yesterday executed search warrants on premises associated with the companies operating in the gold bullion and precious metals industries.

The investigation forms part of the work undertaken by the joint-agency Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce (CACT).

It is alleged the companies fraudulently claimed GST credits and failed to report GST correctly. They formed syndicates to conceal the true nature of their activities and to avoid detection.

As a result of the investigation the ATO has issued garnishee notices and GST amended assessments with liabilities of more than $130 million.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Greg Williams said the ATO takes GST fraud seriously.

“The majority of businesses do the right thing, however the ATO will pursue those that choose to engage in illegal behaviour.”

“Further audits of industry participants will be undertaken in the near future and we will continue to work closely with other government and law enforcement agencies to pursue those suspected of abusing the system,” Mr Williams said.

AFP Manager Criminal Assets Matt Rippon said the combined resources of all agencies involved in the investigation provided an opportunity for the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) to examine the full range of any criminal activity.

“The sheer amount of money involved in this matter and the activity undertaken to disguise its movement means we are treating this as an organised criminal activity,” said Commander Rippon.

“I warn any people involved in this matter that the Taskforce plans to follow the money trail and actively target any proceeds of crime that have been acquired as a result of associated criminal activity.”

Australian Crime Commission Acting Executive Director Operations, Richard Grant said that financial crimes continue to increase in diversity, scale and in harm to the Australian community.

“Joint investigations targeting criminal wealth have proven to be an effective approach in the fight against organised crime, and in safeguarding our economy.”