Entrepreneur arrested over tax evasion

The Australian Federal Police have arrested and charged a 52-year-old Sydney businessman over an alleged multi-million-dollar tax evasion scheme.

Michael John Milne has been bailed on a $5 million surety after appearing in court this morning. He was charged in Central Local Court on four counts of obtaining financial benefit from deception and one of money laundering.

He was arrested yesterday and search warrants were executed at Neutral Bay and in the Sydney CBD.

It is alleged that Milne has been involved in tax evasion through an intricate network of local and offshore companies used to earn income paid offshore and to conceal it from the tax office.

The proceeds were then allegedly moved through a series of offshore and Australian company structures before being returned to Australia.

The police investigation began after a referral from the Australian Crime Commission which is investigating offshore tax evasion schemes. The operation also involved officers from the Australian Taxation Office.

This is one of several investigations being conducted as part of a massive tax investigation, Project Wickenby. AFP national manager economic and special operations Paul Jevtovic says the powers of seven key government agencies were utilised. “We are being assisted in our work by foreign governments and international agencies,” he says.

The AFP is currently conducting nine major Project Wickenby investigations with intelligence operation within Australia and overseas.


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