Four Corners investigation shows need for regulators to prosecute dodgy liquidators


ABC TV’s Four Corners investigation into Australia’s largest tax fraud highlights the need for regulators to investigate and bring to account corrupt insolvency practitioners.

‘Dirty Deeds: Inside Australia’s Biggest Tax Scam’ (broadcast on Monday 26 June), reveals the story of the Plutus Payroll Scheme, which defrauded more than $100m from Australian Taxpayers by processing payroll for corporate and government clients and then skimming the tax owed rather than paying it to the ATO.

ARITA CEO John Winter was interviewed for the program and argued that while the ATO and Australian Federal Police had done extraordinary work in investigating the scam, the situation leaves obvious questions about the involvement of so-called ‘friendly liquidators’ that need to be answered.

“If there's cash payments being given to a dodgy liquidator… that's about as egregious as it gets in this profession,” Winter said.

“They certainly shouldn't be allowed to continue operating in this marketplace. And it defies explanation in my mind as to how that person hasn't been tracked down and held to account.

“It's not that hard for the regulator to line up who was doing the work and start a proper investigation … We've seen no evidence of that happening,” he said.

ARITA works tirelessly to advocate for and enforce high professional standards, he added, pointing out the efforts of ARITA members Bruce Gleeson and Michael Hayter to shine a light on the scam.  

“‘Friendly liquidators’, if they were at play here, are a scourge and all of us want them rubbed out.

“We at ARITA are grateful to the ABC and their commitment to serious investigative journalism in getting this story to air,” Winter said.

Click here to watch the 4 Corners investigation on ABCiView.