Tax fraud accused lodges $5m bail
Alleged tax cheat Vanda Gould has walked from court after posting $5million in bail but fellow Operation Wickenby targets John Leaver and Peter Borgas looked set to spend a third night in jail.
Shares in companies chaired by Mr Gould fell as investors reacted to news the trio had been charged with tax and money-laundering offences punishable by up to 25 years' jail.
Federal police arrested the trio on Tuesday evening. Mr Gould and Mr Leaver were arrested at their Sydney homes while Mr Borgas, a Belgian national, was arrested at Sydney Airport as he waited for a flight home to Switzerland. Operation Wickenby is a joint taskforce run by federal police and the Tax Office investigating the abuse of tax havens by wealthy Australians.
Federal police allege Mr Gould, Mr Leaver and Mr Borgas used a complex network of offshore companies to carry on business in Australia without paying tax. It is alleged profits were then transferred back into the country disguised as loans, reaping a tax benefit of $4.9 million.
They were granted bail on Wednesday, conditional upon depositing a total of $12 million with the Sydney Central Local Court.
All three spent Wednesday night in custody but Mr Gould, a high-profile businessman who is the chairman of listed companies CVC, CVC Property Fund, Cyclopharm and Vita Life Sciences, was released on Thursday after depositing his bail. As of Thursday evening Mr Leaver, who is also a director of CVC, and Mr Borgas were yet to satisfy the court's demands for $2 million and $5 million respectively. The case returns to court for mention on January 27.
Shares in investment company CVC fell almost 6 per cent while biotech Vita Life Sciences shed 2 per cent. Cyclopharm and CVC Property Fund were unchanged.
A related civil trial continued in the Federal Court in Sydney on Thursday.