In August 2011, police received a tip that a guest of Sydney’s Hilton Hotel had a pistol. When they arrived on the scene and approached the occupant, Sean Carolan, they didn’t find any guns but they did find a suitcase stuffed with $702,000 in cash.
Since then, police and justice officials have been unable to properly identify the true owner of the money.
Carolan, a former cage fighter and the personal trainer who conducted blood tests on Sydney Roosters NRL players in early 2013, fought to have the money returned but a Supreme Court judge refused his attempts, the SMH reported.
The details of the paper trail are shrouded in mystery, with a number of individuals claiming the bounty.
When police seized the money from Carolan, he told them he was minding the bag for a client, Owen Hanson Jnr, who had been gambling. Carolan said he wasn’t aware of the contents.
When questioned by police, Hanson said: “Do you want me to tell you the full story of how basically this money was laundered?” and later added that the money was to be invested in Carolan’s proposed laser fat reduction clinics.
Melbourne rock promoter Andrew McManus also laid claim to the substantial stash of cash, telling police the money was “not the proceeds of crime, it’s the [proceeds] of Andrew McManus”. He said the $702,000 was owed to Hanson, who had allegedly paid a deposit for American band ZZ Top to tour the country.
On top of these claims, McManus sounded off on a few other things during his police interview, including withholding funds from bands like Fleetwood Mac, having to fork over more than $2 million for his company’s role in the Melbourne Storm salary cap debacle, and avoiding tax payments.
In conclusion, Supreme Court Justice Button said “there is no satisfactory explanation why very large sums of money were being transferred in cash and without any documentary trail”.
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