A Perth man being pursued by Operation Wickenby investigators on charges of avoiding tax and money laundering has been arrested in Thailand.
Greg Dunn, 53, was detained this week by Thai police, acting on an Australian arrest warrant, at his seaside residence at Hua Hin, 200 kilometres south of Bangkok.
Thai police told the media the warrant alleges Mr Dunn and other people operating a stock trading company in Australia had failed to pay tax of around $20 million.
Mr Dunn was one of the promoters of tax schemes that helped spark the $430 million Project Wickenby investigation into the tax affairs of Australia’s wealthy, focusing on the transfer of money overseas to avoid tax.
Mr Dunn has been living in Thailand for about 12 years and operated a granite business in Hua Hin.
In March this year, in an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Mr Dunn declared he was innocent of the charges, which link some of Western Australia’s major mining entrepreneurs to a tax fraud.
He was referred to in the AFR article as the first tax scheme promoter in the eight-year saga of Wickenby to go public and give his view.
In July, WA mining executives Peter Bartlett and Ron Sayers were charged with conspiracy along with several others to cause the commonwealth a loss in a number of events alleged to have taken place between 2002 and 2004.
Mr Bartlett and Mr Sayers were two of Mr Dunn’s highest profile clients.
Mr Bartlett was a co-founder of the underground mining contractor, Barminco, while Mr Sayers is managing director of Ausdrill.
The two men, along with accountant Deborah Grace, had all earlier pleaded not guilty in a Perth court to tax-related criminal charges that carry a possible jail term of up to 10 years.
Mr Bartlett sold his stake in Barminco on 2007.
Australian authorities say the men face charges over the alleged siphoning of $57 million in income tax tied to the interests in Barminco through a company in the British Virgin Islands. They are due to face a 10-week jury trial starting in February.
Mr Dunn told the AFR how the constant threat of being arrested and facing extradition had led to clinical depression.
“On a good day I deal with it. On a bad day it’s a lot worse than that,” he said.
The Attorney-General’s Department in Canberra confirmed that Mr Dunn was arrested after a request from Australia for his extradition.
“Mr Dunn is wanted to face prosecution in Australia for fraud against the Commonwealth, specifically taxation fraud,” a spokesman said.
“As the matter is currently with Thai authorities it is not appropriate to comment further.”