A Sydney man is the 10th to be charged in relation to the alleged $165 million conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth by running a payroll scam out of Sydney.
The 33-year-old from Lavender Bay, on Sydney’s north shore, was arrested on Thursday after his return to Australia and charged on Friday morning following the arrests of nine others.
It will be alleged that he was a former director of the payroll company who continued to manage it during the conspiracy.
Meanwhile, the former lover of the deputy ATO commissioner’s son, Adam Cranston, has spoken out, as politicians express concern over the alleged tax fraud leading to serious consequences for the Australian Taxation Office.
Adam Cranston’s former lover, Toni Brady, told News Corp outlets he had “wanted to help” her, showering her with luxury gifts and overseas holidays — a generosity which even extended for a short time after their breakup and while Adam was reportedly with his now wife, Elizabeth.
“It felt like a Pretty Woman situation,” she told News Corp.
“I thought it was amazing, like a fairy tale. And it wasn’t just about the money.
“He made me the happiest I’ve ever been.”
She said he would buy her “anything she wanted” — watches, shoes, jewellery, a car, pay her rent and even paid for “liposculpture” on her bottom.
Ms Brady’s Instagram account is a testament to her luxury lifestyle, featuring a cascade of travel, shopping and dining shots, but overwhelmingly of Ms Brady alone, or with another female friend.
She told the newspapers she had no knowledge of the alleged fraud scandal.
News Corp reported that Ms Brady found her bank accounts frozen and emptied by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and had been sent a huge bill.
She said she had been told to pay $128,000, as well as fines and penalties.
“I’m 24, I can’t be bankrupt. That’s not fair. The companies didn’t send me any letters telling me to do my tax,” Ms Brady reportedly said.
Ms Brady’s disclosure comes a day after the Australian Federal Police arrested and charged Adam Cranston, 30, over one of the biggest alleged white-collar crimes in Australia’s history.
Adam Cranston was released on $300,000 bail after being charged with conspiracy to defrauding the Commonwealth on Thursday afternoon.
His father, Michael, is expected to be charged with abusing his position as a public official, and has been summonsed to appear in court on June 13.
The deputy ATO commissioner has, in the meantime, been suspended from his job without pay. The AFP does not believe he had any knowledge of the alleged fraud.
His alleged co-conspirators also paraded model and former Miss World Australia Erin Holland at their promotional parties, The Australian has reported.
A spokesperson for Ms Holland issued a statement this morning stating that “at no time did Erin Holland have any involvement in, or knowledge of, alleged misconduct or alleged criminal activity by any person associated with Plutus Payroll or its related businesses”.
Labor Senator Doug Cameron told the ABC he was concerned about the fallout of the scandal for the ATO.
“I think it will have suffered reputational damage,” he said.
“How can you have one of the senior people under investigation and say that it’s not a problem? Of course there is a problem.”
South Australian senator Nick Xenophon agreed, saying he was “shocked” to hear that one of the ATOs own could be implicated in something so serious.
“As shocking as these revelations are, the biggest shockwaves could well be the impact this could have on the Panama Papers investigations, its international implications in what this could mean for a multi-billion-dollar tax-avoidance investigation, whether this in any way could taint or impede any prosecutions,” he told the ABC.
“A $165 million alleged fraud pales into insignificance when you consider the trillion dollars that could be at stake with the Panama Papers in terms of alleged tax evasion.”
– with AAP