22 Jul 2020
Construction industry identity George Alex, his son Arthur and the wife of jailed drug kingpin Michael Ibrahim are allegedly among members of a major crime syndicate who have been arrested over their involvement in tax fraud and money laundering.
In raids across Sydney and the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning, police arrested a number of people following a joint investigation by a combined task force of the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Tax Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Mr Alex, 49, has been an undischarged bankrupt since 2011. Despite this, evidence was given at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption in 2015 that Alex controlled a number of labour-hire companies which were paying money to the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union for favourable construction deals.
Both Mr Alex and his son Arthur, 22, were arrested at a leased waterfront home in Surfers Paradise in Queensland early Tuesday morning.
With views across the Nerang River, the luxury property boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, an indoor spa, a pool and a small 10-seater theatre. A real estate listing indicates the property was leased in December 2018 for $1600 a week.
Meanwhile, police were executing a search warrant at the Alex family home in Larkhall Avenue, Earlwood, in Sydney’s inner west. A 2011 Porsche Cayenne was seized at the house.
Police also raided a house in Thompson Street, Earlwood, which was purchased in 2018 for $2.35 million by then 20-year-old Arthur Alex.
Make-up artiste Caitlin Hall, 30 was arrested at her Greystanes home.
She is the wife of jailed underworld figure Michael Ibrahim, who is currently serving a 30-year sentence for conspiring to import more than 1.7 tonnes of MDMA, 136 kilograms of cocaine and 15 kilograms of methylamphetamine.
Ms Hall appeared in handcuffs via audio-visual link at Central Local Court on Tuesday afternoon, dressed in a white puffer jacket and a grey tracksuit, with a white scrunchie in her hair.
She is charged with recklessly dealing with proceeds of crime in excess of $1 millon.
Lawyer for Ms Hall Abbas Soukie told the court the alleged police facts of the case numbered 60 pages, with an abridged version running 17 pages.
He said the facts alleged that there appeared “at least on the face of it, to have been tax avoidance.”
By Kate McClymont, Lucy Cormack and Lucy Stone, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 2020
Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
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