Former ATO deputy commissioner accused of abusing his position Former ATO deputy commissioner accused of abusing his position

Former ATO deputy commissioner accused of abusing his position
21 Dec 2018

Former Australian Taxation Office (ATO) deputy commissioner Michael Cranston has appeared in court accused of abusing his position to benefit his son.

The son, Adam Michael Cranston, was one of 14 people arrested in the Plutus Payroll tax scandal, which allegedly saw more than A$100 million (US$71.5 million) being skimmed from the ATO through underpaid payroll taxes.

Cranston was not arrested over the scandal and it is not being suggested that he either knew about it or took part in any way. But he faces two charges of abusing public office to gain advantage. It is expected that 11 witnesses will be called in the case.

John Laxon, who is acting for Cranston, said prosecutors were planning to rely on internal ATO policy documents and phone intercepts that “involve third parties”. “Intercepts that don’t involve Mr Cranston,” he added.

Judge Price ordered a pre-trial conference on 14 January.

The Plutus Payroll investigation, known as Operation Elbrus, led to the arrest of Adam Cranston and Lauren Anne Cranston, Michael Cranston’s daughter. They were allegedly part of a scheme that used funds from Plutus Payroll clients and diverted them through a range of second-tier companies, which paid part of the payroll tax required.

Courts have previously heard that there is a brief of evidence containing more than a million pages, over 300 lever arch folders and several terabytes of digital data.

According to The Australian, Daniel Hausman, Christopher Guillan, Aaron Paul, Simon Anquetil, Jason Onley, Devyn Hammond, Dev Menon, Daniel Rostankovski, Paul O’Leary, Joshua Meredith Kitson, journalist Stephen Barrett and lawyer Sevag Chalabian also face charges.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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Former Australian Taxation Office (ATO) deputy commissioner Michael Cranston has appeared in court accused of abusing his position to benefit his son.

The son, Adam Michael Cranston, was one of 14 people arrested in the Plutus Payroll tax scandal, which allegedly saw more than A$100 million (US$71.5 million) being skimmed from the ATO through underpaid payroll taxes.

Cranston was not arrested over the scandal and it is not being suggested that he either knew about it or took part in any way. But he faces two charges of abusing public office to gain advantage. It is expected that 11 witnesses will be called in the case.

John Laxon, who is acting for Cranston, said prosecutors were planning to rely on internal ATO policy documents and phone intercepts that “involve third parties”. “Intercepts that don’t involve Mr Cranston,” he added.

Judge Price ordered a pre-trial conference on 14 January.

The Plutus Payroll investigation, known as Operation Elbrus, led to the arrest of Adam Cranston and Lauren Anne Cranston, Michael Cranston’s daughter. They were allegedly part of a scheme that used funds from Plutus Payroll clients and diverted them through a range of second-tier companies, which paid part of the payroll tax required.

Courts have previously heard that there is a brief of evidence containing more than a million pages, over 300 lever arch folders and several terabytes of digital data.

According to The Australian, Daniel Hausman, Christopher Guillan, Aaron Paul, Simon Anquetil, Jason Onley, Devyn Hammond, Dev Menon, Daniel Rostankovski, Paul O’Leary, Joshua Meredith Kitson, journalist Stephen Barrett and lawyer Sevag Chalabian also face charges.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER STORIES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

IRS uses technology to uncover $10bn in US tax fraud

Five South Africans accused of payroll fraud in Durban

France recovers billions in tax fraud and evasion crackdown

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