No glory for Sage after police raids

FOR a man who used to pose for photographs beside a Ferrari and a beautiful woman, the properties related to Tony Sage that were raided by Australian Federal Police on Wednesday are anything but glamorous.

FOR a man who used to pose for photographs beside a Ferrari and a beautiful woman, the properties related to Tony Sage that were raided by Australian Federal Police on Wednesday are anything but glamorous.

In a dowdy network of Perth cul de sacs, wedged between a freeway, a railway line and a massage business that is open "till late", the only hint of glamour is the framed playing shirt of Argentinian soccer club River Plate that has hung above Mr Sage's desk from time to time.

It is believed the authorities may have visited more than one property in this small corner of Perth, including the building that houses the city's A-League soccer club Perth Glory, which is one of several businesses in Mr Sage's web.

Perth Glory is expected to make a statement shortly, but is understood not to be the focus of the raids.

Mr Sage's main company, Cape Lambert Resources, has also issued a statement distancing itself from the raids.

"The company believes the matters relating to the execution of these warrants are not related to its business and have co-operated with the AFP fully," Cape Lambert Resources said in a statement.

Cape Lambert Resources recently pledged to pay $33 million to the Tax Office as a preliminary payment on a wider tax dispute.

With his two highest profile business interests seemingly distanced from the raids, uncertainty remains around Mr Sage's personal tax affairs and the network of micro-cap companies he is involved in.

Aside from Cape Lambert Resources, in which his biggest ASX-listed shareholdings are located, Mr Sage is also director of at least eight other listed and private companies.

This part of his world is typified by over-lap: the registers often feature Mr Sage and Cape Lambert as separate investors, with many of his companies holding stakes in each other.

An accountant by trade, Mr Sage's approach to the resources industry has been to scour the world for distressed assets, fix them up and then sell them on at a higher price.

The highlight of his dealings in the resources sector arguably came in 2008, when he sold a West Australian magnetite project called "Cape Lambert" to Chinese interests for $400 million.

That company, the Metallurgical Corp of China, is also involved as a contractor on the Sino Iron magnetite project that has helped deliver Clive Palmer a fortune.

It's unclear which of those two projects has been more disastrous for Metallurgical Corp of China: both have suffered major delays and cost blowouts, and the company was this week reported to be scaling back its presence in WA. Metallurgical Corp is now looking for a "strategic partner" to help it salvage something from the ruins at Cape Lambert.

Cape Lambert Resources' focus is an iron ore project in Sierra Leone known as Marampa.

Shares in Cape Lambert Resources fell 2¢ to 26.5¢.

The raids are part of an ongoing AFP investigation in partnership with commonwealth agencies including the Australian Crime Commission, the Tax Office, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

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