A Sydney lawyer has been jailed for 12 years for laundering $24 million as part of the Plutus Payroll tax fraud.
On Tuesday, a court order suppressing the details of Sevag Chalabian’s conviction and sentence was lifted, following the guilty verdicts of five others involved in the $105 million tax fraud scheme.
Chalabian, 52, was found guilty by a jury and sentenced in the New South Wales Supreme Court last June for his role in knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
He was sentenced to a non-parole period of seven years and six months, dating from June 23, 2022.
Chalabian will be eligible for parole on December 23, 2029.
Siblings Adam and Lauren Cranston — who are the children of the former taxation deputy commissioner Michael Cranston — lawyer Dev Menon, former athlete Jason Onley and Patrick Willmott have also been found guilty of conspiring to cause a loss to the Commonwealth and conspiring to deal with the proceeds of crime valued at more than $1 million.
There is no suggestion that Michael Cranston was involved in any wrongdoing.
The trial was told that a company called Plutus Payroll collected gross wages from employers before money that should have gone to the ATO by way of GST and Pay As You Go (PAYG) taxation was siphoned via “second-tier” companies.
Chalabian was described by Justice Peter Johnson as playing an “indispensable role” in the laundering of the proceeds of crime between February and May 2017.
“The offender, as a solicitor, played a critical role in the offending, utilising his professional status as a solicitor and access to a trust account, which provided a level of cover for the criminal activity involved,” Justice Johnson told the court.
Justice Johnson also found Chalabian’s offending was in the high-range of objective gravity for offences of this kind.