Anthony Castagna, the former executive chairperson of Australian security software firm Nuix, has been sentenced to seven years’ prison over a tax evasion and money laundering scheme.
Castagna is also a co-founder of Haventec.
The tax evasion scheme related to his income while he was a technology consultant for Macquarie Bank.
Castagna and his cousin, Robert Agius — an accountant implicated in the scheme — were sentenced today in the NSW Supreme Court.
Agius was also hit with a seven-year prison sentence.
In her sentencing remarks Justice Christine Adamson said that there “was a conspiracy between the two offenders” that “arose from an agreement to conceal Dr Castagna’s full and true assessable income from the Commissioner of Taxation by using foreign companies and foreign bank accounts, controlled by Mr Agius, to hide the relevant funds.”
There was also “an ongoing conspiracy between the two offenders between about 2 February 2004 and about 15 April 2008 to deal with the unpaid tax ... the value of which was $1 million or more.”
“These significant sentences handed down today pay testament to this extensive investigation by the Serious and Financial Crimes Taskforce,” the minister for revenue and financial services Kelly O’Dwyer said.
“The Serious and Financial Crimes Taskforce is delivering real results. Since it was established in 2015 it has completed more than 800 audits and reviews, raised nearly $600 million in liabilities and seven people have received custodial sentences.”
The two men were each found guilty of three offences in April after a trial before a jury.
Castagna failed to declare some $5.7 million of income and bonuses. An offshore company owned by Agius was used to hold the funds before the money was channelled back to Australia. During the case the defence argued that a series of transfers of funds to Castagna were a loan.
Justice Adamson said she was satisfied that a purported loan agreement was a “sham”.
“Money laundering and tax evasion have serious repercussions on the Australian economy and we are committed to dismantling these schemes and ensuring those responsible have their day in court,” law enforcement and cyber security minister Angus Taylor said.
“This investigation began in 2006 after the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Federal Police dismantled large-scale money laundering and tax evasion schemes based in Vanuatu, in turn leading them to the activities of these two cousins.”