A family of restaurateurs in the lower North Island are facing charges of tax fraud and money laundering in the Wellington High Court. Between 11 people, 64 charges have been made to which the defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Andrew Instone, Crown lawyer, said that between 2008 and 2015, the defendants worked together to evade the taxes of 14 companies that they were in charge of. In addition to this, the defendants were also accused of collaborating to evade personal income tax. Around $12 million had been omitted from their business’ GST and income tax returns. According to Instone, the defendants evaded paying tax by not declaring cash payments made to their business’. “Instead of being accounted for in the normal manner, the cash was deposited by the defendants or their staff into each other’s bank accounts. The funds were either used for personal purchases or returned to the businesses as ‘funds introduced’. Often, sums would be transferred between different family member’s bank accounts to ensure that each received their ‘fair share’.”
The Crown said that the actions undertaken by the defendants were sophisticated and deliberate in evading taxes and concealing the origin of their revenue.