The death of Gold Coast property developer Brian Ray last month brought
back memories of the Costigan Royal Commission and
bottom-of-the-harbour tax avoidance schemes. And now the lead promoter
of these schemes has finally been pinged by
ASIC again.

Brian
Maher was the king of Australia’s bottom-of-the-harbour schemes and was
jailed for five years for fraud and tax fraud in 1985. He’s now an
undischarged bankrupt suffering from prostate cancer who still drives
around in a Mercedes and lives in a $570,000 waterfront apartment in
Brisbane.

The Courier Mail’s
Anthony Marx has done a good job stalking Maher over the past year and produced this report
last week. However, ASIC hasn’t exactly set land speed records in
catching up with the lad. Marx produced an excellent feature on Maher’s
latest dodgy schemes last December and finally ASIC came good with this release on 1 August, which included the following:

ASIC alleges that in2002 and 2003,the aged care schemes were developed and promoted by
Mr Brian Maher, Mrs Marie Maher and Mr Paul Rodda. Mrs Maher and Mr Rodda were
directors of the companies, however, Mr Maher, who was an undischarged bankrupt
at the time, is alleged to have acted in the management of the
companies.

Each of the schemes has up to 20 investors, with total funds
invested in the schemes amounting to $7.25 million.

ASIC alleges that Mrs Maher and Mr Rodda, as directors of each of the
companies, loaned the money invested by members of the public to another
company, Partnering Dynamics Pty Ltd (Partnering Dynamics) (now in
administration), of which Mrs Maher and Mr Rodda were directors. Partnering
Dynamics subsequently loaned most of this money to other companies and entities
associated with Mr Maher, Mrs Maher and Mr Rodda. None of the other companies or
entities were involved in the development of the aged care facilities.

CRIKEY: Dear oh dear. How does our most notorious tax cheat
manage to extract $7.25 million from the public when he’s an
undischarged bankrupt? For decades Australian regulators haven’t been
tough enough on corporate cheats who miraculously manage to reinvent
themselves. Alan Bond and Larry Alder should have rubbed out at about
the same time as Brian Maher in the late 1970s, yet their exploits are
still emerging in 2005. What’s that old saying about a stitch in time…

Peter Fray

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