Former bank exec jailed for $400 million tax fraud

A former major bank executive has been jailed for 11 years for his involvement in a tax fraud involving a major lender and its clients.

On Friday the Supreme Court sentenced Anthony James Dickson following a four-month trial. Mr Dickson, a former bank executive with St George, Westpac and NAB, was convicted on 22 December 2014.

Court documents show that Mr Dickson and his co-conspirator agreed to cause Neumedix Health Australasia (NHA) Pty Ltd, a company they were directors of, to make false depreciation claims in its tax returns of many hundreds of millions of dollars.

The depreciation claims concerned the cost of acquisition by NHA of certain medical technologies under sham agreements with a Cayman Islands company, Athena Health Patents Incorporated.

Mr Dickson controlled Athena.

Mr Dickson and his co-conspirator agreed to make false depreciation claims to enable NHA to avoid incurring tax liabilities on income it was deemed to have received as the owner of units in a number of trusts.

Court documents reveal that these trusts generated “very large taxable profits” from their participation in certain financing transactions that were arranged between the offender, the ANZ Banking Group Ltd and some of its clients.

Mr Dickson and his co-conspirator were arrested and charged in April 2012. Mr Dickson was arraigned before a jury panel in August 2014.

In sentencing Mr Dickson, Justice Beech-Jones found that the entirety of the depreciation claims made by NHA in the financial years 2007 to 2010 were false as the acquisition agreements they were based on were shams. Although NHA had declared almost $380 million in income from the trusts in that period it had claimed depreciation deductions of approximately $400 million.

The Supreme Court found that Mr Dickson and his co-conspirator agreed to deal with the “proceeds of crime” being the amounts standing in various bank accounts that represented the cash distributions from the trusts to NHA by causing the funds to be distributed offshore to various accounts controlled by entities associated with the offender and then repatriated to Australia, largely for their own benefit.

Justice Beech-Jones found that the amount dealt with in giving effect to the conspiracy was $63,715,000.00 and that Mr Dickson received $19,616,996.37 of those funds.

The aggregate period of the sentence imposed on the former bank executive was 11 years imprisonment commencing 22 December 2014 and expiring on 22 December 2025, with a non-parole period of seven years expiring on 22 December 2021. Mr Dickson will be eligible for release on that day.

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