A senior official at the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is facing charges in relation to a major fraud investigation involving his son, in which it is alleged that $165 million was stolen from the Commonwealth.
Deputy Tax Commissioner Michael Cranston was issued with a court summons following the arrest of his son, Adam Cranston, in Sydney yesterday. It is believed he is being charged with abuse of his position, following a request from his son to access information. However, it is being claimed that Mr Cranston knew nothing about his son’s involvement in fraud, having been in the employ of the ATO for more than three decades.
Acting Commissioner of Taxation Andrew Mills stated that Cranston and two other ATO officials had been suspended pending an internal investigation, and reaffirmed that the matter was being treated with the utmost seriousness by the ATO.
“The people being investigated have been suspended without pay,” he said.
“Australians must have a tax administration that they can trust and the people of the ATO must be of the utmost integrity and good judgement. This is even more important for those in leadership positions.”
It is understood the investigation centres on a group whose members have been arrested for conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth. The Deputy Operation Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Leanne Close, states that their investigation goes back to June 2016 and have currently unearthed that around $165 million had been defrauded.
“Because we see so much evidential material over the last two days, we will take time to examine that and see if that is where the conspiracy ends or if there is further charges or further money that has been defrauded,” she said.
Adam Cranston’s arrest was one of nine arrests made as twenty eight raids were made across Sydney yesterday in connection with the investigation.