No glory for Sage after police raids
FOR a man who has made a name posing for photographs beside Ferraris and beautiful women, the properties related to Tony Sage that were raided by federal police on Wednesday are anything but glamorous.
In this dowdy corner of Perth, wedged between a major freeway, a railway line and a massage business that is open "till late", the only hint of glamour for many years was the framed playing shirt of Argentinian soccer club River Plate that hung above Mr Sage's desk.
Things have picked up a tad in recent times, as the growth in Mr Sage's business networks saw him spread into several new buildings in the neighbourhood, most of which were visited by federal police this week.
One of those was his long-held office in Oxford Close that currently serves as the home of several Sage-linked businesses, including Kupang Resources and A-League soccer club Perth Glory.
The Glory, which recently failed to sign superstar David Beckham, released a statement late on Thursday confirming the raids did not enter its offices, and the club insisted it was not involved in the investigation.
Mr Sage's main company, Cape Lambert Resources, also issued a statement distancing itself from the raids, despite having its own tax problems earlier this year.
"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 to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Cape Lambert Resources recently pledged to pay $33 million to the Tax Office as a preliminary payment on a wider tax dispute.
ASX-listed Kupang, in which Sage is partnered by rugby league legend Benny Elias among others, remained officially silent on Thursday.
Sources suggest Kupang had its offices visited under Thursday's raids, which are part of an Australian Federal Police investigation in partnership with the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Tax Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The company - previously known as Chameleon Mining - has spent more of its short history in court than down a mine, and its triumphs include successful cases against Murchison Metals.
Kupang shares were virtually unchanged yesterday at 5.6¢, while shares in Cape Lambert Resources were down 2¢ to 26.5¢.
Aside from Kupang and Cape Lambert Resources (the latter contains his biggest ASX-listed share holdings), Mr Sage is also director of at least seven other listed and private companies, most of which are micro-caps.
This part of his world is typified by overlap: the share registers often feature both Mr Sage and Cape Lambert Resources 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 Corporation of China, is also involved as a contractor on the Sino Iron magnetite project that has helped deliver Clive Palmer a fortune.
It is unclear which of those two projects has been more disastrous for MCC: both have suffered major delays and cost blowouts, and MCC was this week reported to be scaling back its presence in WA.