Senior ATO official to be charged over son's fraud

Michael Cranston
Michael Cranston. Image: YouTube/ABC News

A senior official of the Australian Tax Office is to be charged in relation to a major fraud allegation involving his son, in which $165 million was allegedly stolen from the Commonwealth, dating back to June 2016.

While he is not believed to be a conspirator in the fraud, deputy tax commissioner Michael Cranston will be charged with abusing his position as a public official and has been served a notice to attend court. 

His son, Adam Cranston was arrested yesterday at his Bondi flat and has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth. 

Adam’s younger sister Lauren Cranston, 24 was also arrested by the AFP and given the same charge as her brother. She was granted conditional bail to face court again on June 13.

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A statement released by ATO acting commissioner of taxation, Andrew Mills said that the investigation has not yet revealed any evidence of actual intervention or influence on audit cases, or of money being refunded, or of tax liability being changed.

“I cannot overstate the seriousness of these matters – Australians must have a tax administration they can trust and the people of the ATO must be of utmost integrity and good judgment,” he said.

“This is even more important for those in leadership positions; I expect our officers not only to follow, but to champion and role model the APS Values and Code of Conduct.”

“Given the police investigations and our own Code of Conduct investigations are ongoing, I cannot, and will not, make further comments at this stage.”

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Two other ATO employees have been suspended without pay over the matter. 

Adam Cranston is due to appear in Central Local Court in Sydney later today.

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