Man charged with Commonwealth fraud offences

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has charged a 76-year-old Sydney man with Commonwealth fraud offences, following a complex eight-year investigation. 

It will be alleged in court that the man fraudulently concealed his beneficial ownership and control of corporate entities, avoiding associated tax obligations in excess of $30 million.

The AFP commenced its investigation in June 2009. On Friday, 6 October 2017, AFP officers served the man a Court Attendance Notice regarding Commonwealth fraud offences.

He is due to appear in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney today, charged with one count of dishonestly influencing a Commonwealth public official, contrary to section 135.1(7) of Criminal Code (Cth), and two counts of defrauding the Commonwealth, contrary to section 29D of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, National Manager Organised Crime and Cyber, said the investigation required extensive cooperation within the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce and with international agencies.

“I’d like to commend the officers involved in this complex and lengthy investigation for their persistence and dedication to ensuring the integrity of Australia’s financial frameworks,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

“Serious financial crime poses a threat to Australia’s economy, financial markets, regulatory frameworks, superannuation and tax system.

“Commonwealth fraud offences have a significant impact on the Australian public – every dollar represents funds that could have been put to use for the benefit of the whole community.

“This result should serve as a warning that we will use every capability at our disposal to bring allegations of fraud before court.”

The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce is a multi-agency effort targeting serious financial crime in Australia. The taskforce sits within the AFP-led Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre. Offences targeted by the taskforce relate to serious fraud, money laundering and defrauding the Commonwealth.

Since the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce was established in July 2015, more than 614 audits have been completed and $408 million tax liabilities have been raised. Four people have received custodial sentences following prosecution. There are currently 26 criminal, civil and intelligence matters in progress.

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