Two Sutherland Shire men are among nine people arrested over an alleged $165 million tax fraud against the Australian Government.
The eight-month investigation, codenamed Operation Elbrus, culminated on Wednesday with 28 search warrants in Sydney, Wollongong and the Southern Highlands.
A further six search warrants are being executed today.
Australian Federal Police allege that the fraud involved the establishment of a company by the syndicate to provide payroll services to legitimate clients.
The money received from these companies was transferred to subcontracted companies – allegedly controlled by syndicate members – to process payroll. While processing these payments, funds paid by legitimate clients to service tax obligations were allegedly diverted by the syndicate for their own personal gain.
Tax Office investigators estimate the amount of tax not paid to the ATO to be approximately $165 million.
During Wednesday’s searches a number of items were restrained including luxury residential houses, funds in bank accounts, luxury cars, boats, motorbikes and aircraft.
AFP Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close said yesterday’s activity involved more than 290 AFP members.
“The scale of this alleged fraud is unprecedented for the AFP; the response from our members yesterday is a direct response to the level of offending that we have identified during this operation,” she said.
“Investigations such as this are inherently complex and we still have a lot more work to undertake as we analyse the material that has been seized.
“The threat posed by this syndicate to the revenue stream is demonstrated by the fact that $165 million was removed from the tax system, ultimately removing it from possible use by the community.”
Among those who appeared in court on Thursday are Mr Rostankovski, 28, from Waterloo; Jason Cornell Onley, 47, from Vaucluse; Daniel Hausman, 47, from Woollahra; Christopher James Guillan, 46, from Sutherland; Dev Menon, 33, from Wahroonga and Devyn Hammon, 24, from Balgownie.
A 58-year-old Menai man was issued a court attendance notice to appear in Sydney Central Local Court on June 13 for an alleged abuse of his position as a public official.