Australian Federal Police and Australian Taxation Office investigators have arrested three men in relation to the transfer of $30 Million into Australia.
The investigators from Project Wickenby, a joint investigation between several government agencies, executed nine warrants on locations across Sydney and in Melbourne yesterday.

Two of the men, both Australian’s were arrested in their homes while the third, a Belgian National was arrested at Sydney International Airport. It is uncertain as to whether this man was attempting to flee the country.
All three men are in their 60’s and will appear in court on tax evasion and money laundering charges in relation to the transfer of $30 million into Australia.
The prosecution will allege that the men utilised a complicated network of offshore companies in order to conduct business in Australia.
The profits from these business enterprises were retained offshore and remained untaxed until they were transferred back to Australian companies disguised as loans. It is alleged that this was done in order to reduce the tax liabilities of those companies.
The men arrested received benefits totalling $4.9 million over a five year period.
The Project Wickenby task-force combined resources from the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), the Australian Government Solicitor and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Deputy Taxation Commissioner Greg Williams said that this was an example of what can be achieved when government agencies work together to prevent tax avoidance. “Today’s outcome is a warning to people who abuse tax secrecy havens. We will hold tax cheats accountable,”
Commander Matt Ripon, AFP Manager of Criminal Assets said that the arrests were a result of a well established interagency effort operating under the Project Wickenby banner.
“The AFP continues to work closely with partner agencies such as the ATO to protect the Australian economy from money laundering schemes and the criminal abuse of our tax system.” Commander Rippon said. The charges brought against the men are:

  • Conspiracy to dishonestly cause a loss, or to dishonestly cause a risk of loss, to a third person, namely the Commonwealth, contrary to subsection 135.4(5) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
  • Conspiracy to deal with property intending that the property, namely $30,000,000, would become an instrument of crime, contrary to section 400.3(1) and section 11.5 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)

These offences carry a maximum term in prison of 10 and 25 years respectively and all three men will appear in Sydney Central Court today. Investigations are continuing and further arrests are likely.

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About the Author: SR Smedley
SR Smedley holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Management with a particular focus on communications. He has also completed studies in financial planning as well as previously studying human health and nutrition. He is the Director of Operations of Franklin Media Australia, a self taught programmer and web developer and former SCUBA Diving Instructor. He also previously worked as a journalist for an award winning business journalist and former News Corp editor.

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