Southport Court
Southport Court

Tax fraud syndicate accused guarded leaving watchhouse

TWO bodyguards tried to shield a man accused of being part of an alleged $17.5 million tax fraud syndicate after he was finally freed on bail.

Arthur Alex, 22, walked from Southport Watchhouse on Thursday afternoon after spending two nights behind bars on remand.

The bodyguards had been present in court on Tuesday and Wednesday for each of the six men accused of being part of the alleged $17.5 million fraud syndicate. They have been charged with conspiracy to defraud and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

A minder ushers Arthur Alex (right), who is accused of being part of a tax fraud syndicate, leaves Southport Watchhouse. Picture: Glenn Hampson
A minder ushers Arthur Alex (right), who is accused of being part of a tax fraud syndicate, leaves Southport Watchhouse. Picture: Glenn Hampson

They ushered Alex into a silver van parked on the footpath.

Alex was only released after a $100,000 surety was lodged with the Southport court.

Alex is the son of the alleged ringleader George Alex, 49. Both were arrested, along with five other men, on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.

George Alex is the only one of the group denied bail.

They are accused of using labour hire companies to divert PAYG tax payments away from the Australian Taxation Office and use some of it to fund luxury lifestyles including on the Gold Coast.

Two minders help Arthur Alex (right) to his car. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Two minders help Arthur Alex (right) to his car. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Twelve people were arrested across the nation, including Caitlin Hall, the wife of jailed Sydney drug import baron Michael Ibrahim. The arrests followed an 18-month joint operation by Australian Federal Police, the ATO and ASIC.

George Alex was in his waterfront Surfers Paradise home when police swooped. He moved to the Glitter Strip from Sydney 18 months ago.

George Alex was whisked to the Gold Coast Airport under police escort to make a court appearance in Sydney on Friday.

Among those arrested on the Gold Coast was former New Zealand man Mark Bryers.

The minders helping Arthur Alex into the van. Picture: Glenn Hampson
The minders helping Arthur Alex into the van. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Bryers, who lives in Sydney but was on the Gold Coast when he was arrested, was once believed to be New Zealand's biggest bankrupt with an estimated more than $230 million in debts.

In court on Wednesday, Bryers was silent, looking around the court briefly before attentively listening to lawyers as they spoke.

He was one of five men to get bail on strict conditions including they each provide a significant surety.

Bryers and co-accused Bonogin man Kevin McHugh, Hope Island man Gordon McAndrew and Adrian Metly were unable to raise a surety on Wednesday and it is not clear if they had been released on Thursday.

All are scheduled to appear in Central Local Court in Sydney at 3pm on Friday.

Originally published as Tax fraud syndicate accused guarded leaving watchhouse



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