The Australian Tax Office is spearheading a criminal probe of gold companies suspected of fraudulently claiming more than $65 million in GST.
The ATO said that together with the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission, it yesterday executed search warrants on premises linked to unnamed companies operating in "the gold bullion and precious metals industries".
The companies are alleged to have fraudulently claimed GST credits and then formed syndicates to avoid detection.
The probe bears similarities to another two years ago in Canada where Quebec's tax authorities targeted gold trader Kitco.
The Australian investigation is being conducted under the auspices of the joint-agency Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce, set up three years ago.
"The sheer amount of money involved in this matter and the activity undertaken to disguise its movement means we are treating this as an organised criminal activity," AFP Commander Matt Rippon said in a joint statement.
The ATO has issued garnishee notices and amended assessments of $130 million-plus.