Bob Johnson, founder of Australian mining software and equipment company Maptek, has appeared in an Adelaide court facing two charges of defrauding the government and 13 of obtaining financial advantage by deception.
Prosecutors allege he failed to disclose overseas trust assets in his income tax returns, thereby evading more than A$38.5m (US$28.4m, €24.0m) owed in Australia between 1999 and 2013.
Each offence is punishable by a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment.
He was granted conditional bail and his next court appearance is due in September.
Maptek is regarded by many as a pioneer in use of computer software to model underground deposits for mining companies. Founded in 1981, Maptek now employs 350 people in ten countries.
As well as Maptek, Johnson founded Havilah Resources which has copper and gold prospects in South Australia. He has interests in other businesses and was named by mining equipment industry association Austmine as its 2021 champion of innovation in May.
In additional to the charges he faces, the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce has obtained restraining orders in South Australia’s supreme court for a “significant amount of assets”.
The police’s Southern Command’s acting commander of investigations Raegan Stewart said the charges follow a complex investigation involving joint agency co-operation and law enforcement bodies in Jersey, the US, the UK and the British Virgin Islands.
“The laying of charges against the alleged offender as well as the obtaining of restraining orders in this investigation serves as a clear warning that the Australian Federal Police will take action in relation to allegations of serious financial crime,” he added.
On the global aspect of the case, he said: “We are committed to continuing to work alongside our international law enforcement agency partners in investigations into this kind of offending, seek to remove the benefits derived from crime, identify those responsible and put them before the court.”
Serious Financial Crime Taskforce chief Will Day stated: “Each one of us is a victim, because [financial crime] takes millions of dollars away that could be invested into essential services such as education and health.”
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