Controversial building industry figure George Alex, who was arrested last month over a $17 million tax fraud syndicate, has denied any wrongdoing, arguing he needs bail to get treatment for mental health issues, a court heard.
Last month George Alex was arrested in Queensland and extradited to Sydney on conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and dealing with proceeds of crime charges.
The 49-year-old applied for bail at Central Local Court on Tuesday, but Magistrate Margaret Quinn is not expected to make a decision until Friday.
Prosecutor Raelene Sharp said Alex may interfere with witnesses if released and posed an unacceptable flight risk, adding he had the “associations” and “significant financial means” to flee the country.
“If convicted, Mr Alex faces a significant term of imprisonment,” she said.
Mr Alex was alleged to be the leader of the syndicate that used labour hire and payroll companies to defraud the ATO. Millions of dollars were then allegedly transferred to Australian accounts controlled by other accused syndicate members.
Last week the sick Surfers Paradise man was held in isolation while on remand at Silverwater prison as a coronavirus precaution, and he appeared via video link on Tuesday wearing a green top fashioned as a makeshift face mask.
Alex‘s lawyer argued the construction boss had “exceptionally strong” community ties that would stop him from leaving Australia – something he has not done since about 1987.
Defence barrister Craig Smith SC said Alex suffers from physical and mental health conditions and at one point wasn’t getting his medication behind bars.
“He still hasn’t seen a psychiatrist,” Mr Smith said.
The court also heard Alex was in a “very serious” accident in 1994, and still suffers ongoing pain for which he needs treatment.
Documents released from Queensland Supreme Court last week showed that 12 people were accused of being involved in the alleged syndicate. By the end of the proceedings on July 17, The George Alex 12 were ordered by the court to surrender control of millions of dollars worth of assets.
This included 14 properties, starting with Mr Alex’s waterfront apartment on the Gold Coast and a Sydney mansion in Earlwood worth $2.5 million, owned by a company linked to the construction identity.ARRESTS-and-CHARGES