ASIC sacked security contractor over suspected links to bikies

“Investigations have identified that key staff in PPA (Premier Protection Agency) have links to members and/or former members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCG) and may be engaged in committing fraud to further their business interests,” James’ letter which was tendered as proof within the contract dispute case says.

Premier Protection Agency lost its contract with ASIC following a tip off by the AFP.

Premier Protection Agency misplaced its contract with ASIC following a tip off by the AFP.

“Investigations have identified that PPA appear to have liquidated and ‘phoenixed’ their company in 2014 after failing to pay a considerable debt to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) yet continued to maintain their business relationships with ASIC and AGSVA (The Australian Government Security Vetting Agency) without disclosing these facts to either agency,” James’ letter continues.

“Illegal phoenixing” happens when an organization’s director seems to be to keep away from their enterprise money owed by organising a brand new firm to function a enterprise whereas the previous enterprise holds all of the money owed to collectors.

One of ASIC’s safety staffers, Mahmoud (‘Michael’) Daher, was charged with a number of offences referring to unlawful entry to extremely confidential databases in 2016 to see if any alerts had been positioned on him, members of his household and associates within the tobacco commerce.

The contract case heard Daher was suspected by the AFP of being linked to a gaggle of individuals concerned in unlawful tobacco imports. Daher had labored with ASIC since 2006 and earlier than that he had labored with Premier.

At least one different ASIC staffer was additionally suspected of receiving info that had been illegally obtained from the confidential databases, in accordance with the judgment.

Daher plead responsible and acquired an 18-month sentence of full-time imprisonment with a recognisance launch order after 9 months. However, in 2019, the conviction was quashed.

The court heard ASIC cancelled its contacts with Premier shortly after receiving a tip off from the AFP about its investigations and the raids on the homes of Premier director Rob Martorano and his business partner Steven Davies.

The courtroom heard ASIC cancelled its contacts with Premier shortly after receiving a tip off from the AFP about its investigations and the raids on the houses of Premier director Rob Martorano and his enterprise companion Steven Davies.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The AFP additionally accused Premier of “illegal phoenixing” by organising a brand new firm to keep away from a $1.2 million debt with the tax workplace. The courtroom heard Premier had not been submitting correct paperwork with the tax workplace about its enterprise. The courtroom additionally heard that Premier organized for employees at ASIC to log out on the brand new contracts with the brand new firm whereas the unique Premier entity was positioned into liquidation.

Martorano, who was a director of each the previous Premier entity and the brand new Premier entity, claimed that ASIC’s representatives had pressured him into agreeing to tear up the contracts after confronting him with critical allegations about his staff and in opposition to him.

“AFP officers made allegations to two of my staff members… that someone might be buried up [sic] the concrete in front of the office,” a file word written by Martorano after the telephone name learn. He stated he was additionally threatened his firm would obtain a black mark and can be blocked from any additional authorities work. ASIC denied these allegations.

Justice Michael Slattery discovered that whereas Martorano was burdened after the decision and believed he had been threatened, it was extremely unlikely that ASIC’s workers made any precise threats.

Slattery additionally highlighted in his judgment that the allegations in opposition to Martorano and Davies had solely been made by the AFP and had not been examined.

“Mr Martorano, Mr Davies and (the brand new entity) Premier deny the allegations of felony conduct and as far as the Court is conscious they haven’t been examined in any felony trial.“

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