The founder of Plutus Payroll has been charged over Australia's biggest tax fraud

The tax case arrests. Image: Australian Federal Police.

A tenth person has been arrested in connection with an alleged $165 million tax fraud.

Simon Anquetil, the founder of Plutus Payroll, the company at the centre of the alleged criminal conspiracy, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud. The maximum penalty for the offence is 10 years jail.

Australian Federal Police allege the 34-year-old Anquetil, from Lavender Bay, was a former director of Plutus and managed the business during the conspiracy.

Anquetil was arrested following his return to Australia from Europe yesterday. His LinkedIn page lists him as founder and chairman of GoodShift Ventures, a hybrid accelerator, incubator and VC fund for startup businesses.

Plutus was sold in mid 2016 to private equity firm SYNEP. Adam Cranston, the son of deputy ATO (Australian Tax Office) commissioner Michael Cranston, is listed as co-chairman and managing director of SYNEP.

The tax case arrests. Image: Australian Federal Police

Nine people were arrested and charged Wednesday and Thursday over their association with a syndicate allegedly responsible for the tax fraud, described as one of the biggest tax fraud cases in Australian history.

Michael Cranston, a long servicing senior executive at the ATO, was issued a court attendance notice for alleged abuse of his position as a public official. He must appear in court on June 13.

His son, Adam, 30, was arrested in Bondi yesterday and has been charged with conspiracy to defraud. His 24-year-old daughter, Lauren, was also arrested.

An eight-month investigation by the Australian Federal Police, codenamed Operation Elbrus, culminated with 28 search warrants in Sydney, Wollongong and the Southern Highlands on Wednesday. A further six search warrants were executed Thursday.

The fraud allegedly involved Plutus Payroll which provided payroll services to legitimate clients.

The money paid by the clients was transferred to subcontracted companies, allegedly controlled by syndicate members, to process payroll.

While processing these payments, funds were allegedly diverted by syndicate members for their own personal gain.


Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.