Alleged members of construction identity George Alex’s alleged $17 million tax fraud scheme were apparently ‘blindsided’ by the raids undertaken by police on July 21.
According to documents released by the Queensland Supreme Court, 12 people accused of being involved in the alleged syndicate were given almost no notice that the Australian Federal Police were applying to the court to freeze 99 individual assets that the police allege were funded by the proceeds of crime.
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, The Daily Telegraph reports.
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.
Details on all the assets seizures can now be revealed after a non-publication order on their existence was lifted last week.ARRESTS-and-CHARGES
Police applied for the assets to be frozen on July 17, but the existence of the case was prevented from being revealed by a non publication order.
The order was in place because the police investigation, known as Operation Bordelon, was preparing to make pre-dawn raids in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, four days later that would result in 12 people being charged.
Lawyers for the police explained to the court that the order had to be kept a secret — including from the 12 people who were about to have their assets frozen — to prevent them from either hiding or offloading the assets.
It was for this reason that police lawyers explained that the application to freeze the assets had to be heard without giving any of the 12 targets notice that the case was actually happening, court documents 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.
Alex’s 22-year-old son, Arthur was charged with conspiring to cause a loss to the Commonwealth and intentionally deal with proceeds of crime, money or property worth $1,000,000 or more. He is yet to enter a plea.