The Australian Government has been left with almost 46 million unusable face masks after they handed COVID-19 contracts to a suspicious online retailer, who sourced equipment via companies registered in the low-tax jurisdiction of Cyprus.
According to The Guardian, $100 million in contracts were handed Australian Business Mobiles NSW (ABM), a small company who was in charge of subcontracting the supply of the PPE from two companies registered in Cyprus in April and June 2020.
The Cyprus-registered companies, Neumer Trading and Neumer Holdings, named after twins Ricky and Evan Neuman, made about $40 million on the deal, The Guardian reported.
Later in July, questions were raised by the Australian Taxation Office in regard to the government’s arrangement with the two companies.
ABM was paid to source 50 million masks and 4 million isolation gowns however, almost 46 million masks were found to be unusable as five out of seven of the manufacturers who supplied the masks did not meet quality regulations.
In March last year, warnings were also issued for these masks to not be used in hospitals or other healthcare settings.
A spokesperson for Ricky Neumann said the companies had “always complied with our obligations and deny any wrongdoing.”
Source: The Guardian.