Two New South Wales men have been sentenced for their role in a significant money laundering and tax evasion scheme after an investigation by the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT).
Anthony Castagna (70) from Gordon was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of four years and Robert Agius (68) from Sydney was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. He will be eligible for parole in March 2021.
The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, said the ongoing efforts of the SFCT are achieving tangible outcomes.
"These significant sentences handed down today pay testament to this extensive investigation by the Serious and Financial Crimes Taskforce," Minister O'Dwyer said.
"The Serious and Financial Crimes Taskforce is delivering real results. Since it was established in 2015 it has completed more than 800 audits and reviews, raised nearly $600 million in liabilities and seven people have received custodial sentences."
The Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, said this is another example of the Turnbull Government's SFCT bringing to account those who seek to cheat the system.
"Money laundering and tax evasion have serious repercussions on the Australian economy and we are committed to dismantling these schemes and ensuring those responsible have their day in court," Minister Taylor said.
"This investigation began in 2006 after the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Federal Police dismantled large-scale money laundering and tax evasion schemes based in Vanuatu, in turn leading them to the activities of these two cousins."
Mr Castagna failed to declare approximately $5.7 million of income and bonuses. The pair used an off-shore company, owned by Mr Agius, to hold funds before using sham loans to return the money to Australia without paying tax.
On Wednesday 18 April 2018, a jury found both men guilty of:
- Conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth, contrary to s29D and 86(1) of the Crimes Act 1914;
- Conspiracy to cause a loss to the Commonwealth, contrary to s135.4(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995), and
- Conspiracy to deal with the property of a value greater than $1M believing it to be proceeds of crime, contrary to s11.5(1) and s400.3(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
The SFCT was established in 2015 with a dedicated $127.6 million in Government funding.
Agencies forming the SFCT include the ATO, AFP, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Attorney-General's Department, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Australian Border Force.
- Explanatory Graphic [PDF 343KB]