Friday, July 7, 2023

Oz lawyer Sevag Chalabian sentenced to 12 years

Australian justice finally caught up with one of the country's most crooked lawyers. Sevag Chalabian laundered millions for organized crime groups and now joins some of his ex-clients, including former MP Eddie Obeid, behind bars. Chalabian, 52, bought 12 years, with seven-and-a-half years non-parole, for a single count of money laundering. He used his solicitor’s trust account to launder $24m that he knew was the proceeds of crime. Chalabian was a key cog in the nation’s biggest tax fraud, the Plutus Payroll saga. The Plutus Payroll fraud cheated the state out of more than $100m. For a handsome cut, the lawyer was happy to wash the dirty money.
The day before his firm was raided, Chalabian transferred $880k in loot to Hong Kong. The cash went to KSE Property, with the sole director and shareholder being his 85 year-old mother Sosi. Chalabian’s mother, who speaks limited English, knew nothing about any payment. “How do I know? You ask my son,” she said. “I no see him much.” Among others implicated, Huang Xiangmo is a Chinese property developer who used Chalabian to channel $11m to a secret beneficiary. Reclusive mining promoter Mick "Many Names" Shemesian had business links to Chalabian. Chalabian was involved in dozens of Shemesian's companies.
Lawyer Dev Menon, 39, was recorded telling his co-horts theirs was 'the biggest tax fraud in Australia's history'. He was jailed for at least nine years. 'It would be the biggest tax fraud in Australia's history, definitely, there is no question,' Menon was covertly recorded telling conspiracy ringleader Adam Cranston. The Plutus Payroll fraud collected money from legitimate clients and funnelled it through a web of second-tier companies instead of paying it to the tax office, siphoning off at least $105m between 2014 and 2017.