Squiz Today / 19 May 2017
Squiz Today – Friday, 19 May
YUUUGE TAX FRAUD STING NETS $165 MILLION
Australian Federal Police say they have busted one of the biggest white-collar crime operations this country has ever seen - they have uncovered a syndicate that allegedly stole $165 million from the Commonwealth government. Caught up in the operation is Australian Tax Office Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston. His son and daughter are alleged to be part of the syndicate, and he's been accused of unwittingly abusing his position to gain advantage. Nine people have been arrested following an eight-month investigation.
HOW DID IT WORK?
It’s a little complicated so we’ll try to make it simple. The syndicate ran a legitimate payroll company. Money paid to them for processing was filtered into other companies, and small amounts of what should have been paid to the ATO in PAYG tax were siphoned off. The employees of the businesses who used them were getting their full pay, so they didn't know. Apparently they took $165 million over a 12-month period – so they must have been looking after some pretty big payrolls. Reports say a falling out between syndicate members may have brought them unstuck.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Federal Police and prosecutors have a lot to sift through. Police raided 34 properties over the last two days seizing $15 million in cash, 25 vehicles, 12 motorbikes, two planes (yes, you read correctly), guns, jewellery, wine and art. Cranston’s children were charged and bailed, as were other syndicate members. And the ATO is looking into the conduct of some of its staff - four people are under investigation.
SQUIZ THE REST
CAR HITS CROWD IN TIMES SQUARE
Reports say the incident occurred just before noon in New York City when a car hit pedestrians. Witnesses said the car was travelling in the wrong direction on the pavement for three blocks before crashing on its side leaving an 18yo woman dead and 22 injured. The mayor of New York said they do not believe it is terror related, and police said it appears to be an accident. The car was driven by a 26yo US Navy veteran.
UNEMPLOYMENT FELL IN APRIL
But there’s a bit of a catch. The headline is unemployment dropped from 5.9% in March to 5.7% in April. However, full-time jobs fell by 11,600 while part-time jobs were up by 49,000. It's an ok result - policymakers and economists expressed concern about ‘underemployment’ in our communities (where people are working less than full-time despite being ready, willing and able to).
IS ALBO STALKIN’ SHORTEN?
For the second time in as many weeks, senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese (aka Albo) has had a go at his leader, Bill Shorten. Yesterday during a speech, Albo set out his version of a budget response and roughed up his leader a bit. Remember Albo lost the leadership ballot to Shorten in 2013 by a whisker. Does Albo think he has a chance to lead Labor to an election victory in 2019? Who knows, but some signs of disquiet are appearing. Tanya Plibersek topped a preferred Labor leader poll this week, although she shrugged it off and vowed unity. We say: watch this space.
SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTED TO INVESTIGATE TRUMP/RUSSIA LINKS
The whole Trump/Russia/FBI meltdown went up another notch yesterday with the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate possible links between US President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. Experts say it could take months, or even years to complete the investigation. The kicker is Mueller can investigate any other matters arising from the investigation – and who knows where that might go. While plenty of people are gleefully throwing around the “I” word (impeachment) – most commentators agree we’re still a long way from anything like that. Trump’s reaction (via Twitter, of course)? “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
ROLF HARRIS TO BE RELEASED FROM PRISON
Former entertainer Rolf Harris has been in prison for previous convictions of indecent assault in 2014 and will be released today. However, is currently on trial (attending via video link) for further charges of indecent assault for incidents alleged to have occured in the 1970s and 80s. Bail has been granted and he will be in court from Monday.
NEW FAIRFAX SUITOR COMES OUT OF THE WOODWORK
Things are about to get very interesting on the Fairfax front. San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman yesterday put a proposal to offer up to $2.87 billion, a higher proposal than TPG’s $2.76 billion earlier this week. Hellman & Friedman’s interest has some background to it – their senior adviser is former Fairfax chairman Brian Powers.
LINKEDIN LISTS ATTRACTIVE PLACES TO WORK
LinkedIn (if you know a Kiwi get them to say that – it’s hilarious) yesterday released their rankings of the 25 most attractive places to work in Australia. The ranking is based on an analysis of their 8 million Australian members. We’re wondering whether people from those places are on LinkedIn a lot to find another job, but we’re sceptical like that…
FRIDAY LITES – THREE THINGS WE’VE LIKED THIS WEEK
The US version of InStyle magazine has released its picks for the best in technology. What would a fashion mag know about that? Well, most products are fashion/beauty/communications based. And it’s fun to see what’s around. Check it out here.
Bill Gates says he’s often asked what advice he would give college graduates. This week he posted his thoughts ranging from professional areas to focus on (AI, energy and biosciences), fighting inequality and gave a book recommendation (Steve Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature). Gates even channelled PM Malcolm Turnbull; “This is an amazing time to be alive,” he said.
There’s an ‘almost royal’ wedding on this weekend. Pippa Middleton – the most commented-on bridesmaid of all time - is marrying James Matthews, a financier. Here’s everything you need to know about the wedding, the dress, and the guest list. You probably don’t technically ‘need to know’ this stuff, but we get you might be nosey like us.
“excuse me this is the new korean president's bodyguard”
@elena_yip kicked off a bit of a stir in Twitter when she alerted the world to the handsome addition to South Korea’s political scene. His name is Choi Young-jae and he’s on new president Moon Jae-in’s security detail. He has some way to go to reach the heights of ‘Gorgeous George’, Pope Benedict’s personal secretary, who graced the cover of Vanity Fair and inspired a line of Versace menswear.
SQUIZ THE DAY
US President Donald Trump departs US for his first overseas trip as president
Hồ Chí Minh's Birthday - Vietnam
Timon-Leste's 15th anniversary of independence from Indonesia
Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Matthews - Englefield, UK
World Whisky Day
Last performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus after 146 years - New York, USA
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