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5th person jailed for organised tax fraud in Operation Elbrus

Simon Anquetil has become the fifth person to be sentenced for his role in a syndicate that defrauded the Commonwealth of more than $105 million over three years.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • August 03, 2020

Mr Anquetil has been sentenced in the Supreme Court of NSW to seven years and six months in jail for his role as a principal conspirator in a syndicate that is alleged to have defrauded the Commonwealth of more than $105 million over three years.

Mr Anquetil pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and dealing with the proceeds of crime worth $1,000,000 or more.

He is one of 16 people charged as part of Operation Elbrus, which was a 2017 investigation led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), with assistance from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), into a large-scale and organised tax fraud conspiracy. The investigation revealed a group of people that used payroll services companies to divert pay-as-you-go withholding tax and goods and services tax owed to the ATO.

Mr Anquetil was one of the founders of the payroll services company, Plutus Payroll, and one of the architects of the fraudulent scheme. 

AFP Commander Investigations Eastern Command Kirsty Schofield said Operation Elbrus has involved years of dedicated work for investigators.

“Taxation fraud investigations are inherently complex, and it’s a crime that hurts the community as a whole by diverting money away from the Australian public,” Commander Schofield said.

“These investigations take time and tenacity, and we will not stop in our resolve in seeing these investigations to the end.”

Chief of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce Will Day welcomed the sentence, noting that the outcomes show the commitment of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce in bringing the most serious offenders of financial crime to account.

“This was part of an elaborate and complicated scheme, but our sophisticated approach, combining intelligence and specialist powers of taskforce agencies, means tax criminals will come unstuck,” Mr Day said.

“Tax crime affects everyone. This particular fraud has ripped off innocent creditors and deprived the public of valuable funds that could otherwise be used to fund essential services.”

The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce is a joint agency taskforce that brings together the knowledge, resources and experience of relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies to identify and address the most serious and complex forms of financial crime.

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