Decade-old allegations towards WA mining entrepreneur Peter Bartlett over a $50 million tax evasion case have resurfaced within the trial of 5 individuals accused of stealing gold-bearing ore from his firm.
- 5 persons are on trial within the Kalgoorlie District Court docket over the alleged theft of gold-bearing ore
- Police allege 8,465 tonnes of gold-bearing ore with an estimated worth of $1.17 million was stolen
- The ore was processed on the Greenfields Mill, about 3km east of the Coolgardie city web site
The court docket heard that Mr Bartlett was charged in 2011 and confronted trial in 2013 and 2014 for tax evasion alongside his late enterprise companion Ron Sayers, however was not convicted, though the pair paid again $40 million to the Australian Taxation Workplace.
Mr Bartlett has been giving evidence towards the previous common supervisor of his firm, Patrick Rhyan Keogh, 42, who has pleaded not responsible within the Kalgoorlie District Court docket to stealing as a servant, amongst different prices.
Mr Keogh and his 4 co-accused allegedly stole 8,465 tonnes of gold ore from Greenfields Mill, owned by Mr Bartlett’s FMR Investments, between December 2018 and January 2019.
The gold ore had an estimated worth of $1.17 million, based mostly on gold costs on the time.
Mr Keogh’s lawyer Seamus Rafferty launched the historic tax evasion allegations throughout his cross-examination, throughout which Mr Bartlett was additionally questioned about transporting as much as 120 kilograms of gold bars between his Perth home and the Greenfields Mill on the again seat of Mr Keogh’s automotive.
Mr Rafferty instructed the court docket the tax prices had been discontinued however mentioned Mr Bartlett may very well be charged once more if additional proof was uncovered, which he instructed was “very aggravating” and had “weighed upon you closely”.
“You knew the tax evasion prices might come again?” Mr Rafferty requested.
“No. It by no means entered my thoughts,” Mr Bartlett responded.
Mr Rafferty requested Mr Bartlett if he had instructed Mr Keogh in dialog that he couldn’t intervene in his case as a result of police had him “nonetheless on the hook”.
“Cease it, no. That is ridiculous,” Mr Bartlett mentioned.
“Did you say, ‘They ambushed me and I needed to shield myself’?” Mr Rafferty requested.
“That is incorrect,” Mr Bartlett responded.
The court docket has beforehand heard Mr Keogh shared a “mentor and protégé” relationship with Mr Bartlett, who stays an organization director after founding FMR Investments.
Mr Keogh’s defence claims that his former boss gifted him the gold-bearing ore as a “reward” for transporting the gold bars.
‘Deliberate lie’ on stand alleged
After taking the witness stand on Monday, Mr Bartlett initially gave proof that on not less than three events Mr Keogh had met with him and “begged” him to alter his police assertion, whereas providing to pay again the cash.
However below cross-examination from Mr Rafferty right now, the 71-year-old admitted that didn’t occur and that “I made a mistake”.
Mr Rafferty seized upon the testimony and repeatedly mentioned that Mr Bartlett had “intentionally lied”.
“You have got given sworn proof in entrance of the jury members that Patrick Keogh supplied to pay you again?” Mr Rafferty mentioned.
“If you wish to get into the nitty gritty…,” Mr Bartlett mentioned.
“It didn’t occur, did it?” Mr Rafferty pressed.
“That is appropriate,” Mr Bartlett mentioned.
“You have got intentionally lied — that is the case, is not it?” Mr Rafferty mentioned.
“I did not intentionally misinform them in any respect,” Mr Bartlett mentioned.
At one stage, Mr Rafferty was cautioned towards “badgering the witness” by Decide Christopher Stevenson.
“How can I bear in mind every little thing that occurred two or three years in the past,” Mr Bartlett mentioned.
“I did not imply to place it that approach … I did not intentionally misinform the jury.”
Mr Bartlett reiterated that Mr Keogh requested him to “drop the case”.
The cross-examination additionally centered on Mr Keogh utilizing his non-public automotive to move gold bars between the Greenfields Mill and Mr Bartlett’s home in Perth.
‘Unconventional’ gold transport practices
The court docket heard on one event, as much as 120 kilograms of unstamped gold bars was transported on the again seat of Mr Keogh’s automotive to the processing plant at Coolgardie.
Mr Bartlett agreed the quantity was between 100kg and 120kg of Doré gold, and the gold was value about $8 million.
He mentioned Mr Keogh had additionally “introduced some small bars all the way down to Perth”.
The gold was stored in a secure at house “for emergencies”, Mr Bartlett mentioned, including it had amassed over greater than 20 years.
“You may suppose it is uncommon however to me, it wasn’t,” he mentioned.
Mr Rafferty mentioned the transport occurred round 2012 or 2013, close to the time of the tax evasion case, and he questioned the “unconventional” and “extremely uncommon” observe of transporting gold with out armoured safety.
“I by no means even considered a safety agency … I requested him [Mr Keogh] to take it as a result of he was going to the plant,” Mr Bartlett mentioned.
Mr Bartlett mentioned the FMR Investments board knew in regards to the gold, which he mentioned was stored off the books till it was refined on the Perth Mint.
“I do not know what was stamped and I stamped,” he mentioned.
Mr Bartlett’s spouse, Julie Bartlett, took the witness stand right now and testified about Mr Keogh visiting the couple’s Busselton house in January 2021.
“He was fairly upset [and] he requested me to get Peter to alter his assertion,” she mentioned.
“I mentioned, ‘Peter will not lie for you’ … he mentioned, ‘I might go to jail, Jules’.”
The trial continues.