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Tax Office clamp on Karas extended

A $44 million Tax Office clamp on the assets of the alleged money launderer Tom Karas has been extended indefinitely.

A $44 million Tax Office clamp on the assets of the alleged money launderer Tom Karas has been extended indefinitely.

Mr Karas, of Fitzroy, is a key target of a joint operation between the Australian Taxation Office and Victoria Police's Purana taskforce, investigating people who have benefited from organised crime in Melbourne. Police have previously alleged Mr Karas and his wife laundered money on behalf of a convicted drug baron, Horty Mokbel.

The freeze order over Mr Karas's assets, first granted last month, was extended by Judge Jennifer Davies, of the Supreme Court, on Thursday morning.

The Tax Office's counsel, Stephen Linden, told the court the Australian Taxation Office lodged a writ last week demanding that Mr Karas pay tax bills stretching back to 2003, worth $44 million, including interest and penalties. The Australian Taxation Office had not been able to serve the writ "as yet", he said. In an affidavit, Mr Karas said the Australian Taxation Office had already cleaned out three National Australia Bank accounts frozen by a Supreme Court order last month.

He said that in addition to heavily mortgaged development property in Fitzroy, his assets included $153,000 in an ANZ account belonging to one of his companies, Capital One Securities, and a $600,000 superannuation fund belonging to him and his wife, Irene Meletsis


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