The chief executive of billion-dollar fleet-management company Orix has
been charged with paying corrupt commissions to an employee of
beverage giant Coca-Cola Amatil.
In one of the biggest corporate scandals to hit Australia, police will allege
Orix boss John Carter, 53, made corrupt payments of $504,000 to CocaCola Amatil's fleet manager in exchange for vehicle leasing contracts.
Police told Fairfax Media they believe the scandal is far wider, possibly
involving millions of dollars and years of corruption, and they are urging
people to come forward with information.
Mr Carter was taken from his Vaucluse mansion to North Sydney police
station at 10am on Thursday and charged with four counts of paying
corrupt commissions and one count of money laundering.
The senior Orix manager who allegedly made the payments and the
Coca-Cola fleet managerwho allegedly accepted the corrupt payments were
arrested a week ago.
Police allege Mr Carter was aware of four large deposits paid to the
Coca-Cola fleet manager and allegedly advised his senior manager, a 58
year-old Illawong man, on how to make the payments.
The deposits were allegedly made between June 2014 and February
2015 into a secret bank account specifically set up for the scheme.
Police will allege the money was subsequently laundered by the CocaCola fleet manager, a 61-year-old Adelaide man who was arrested in his
office at the company's Macquarie Park headquarters on March 25.
He is responsible for managing Coca-Cola's vast fleet contract, valued at
more than $30 million a year, police said.
Coca-Cola tipped police off last year after noticing suspicious activity
relating to its vehicle fleet. Last week, a spokesman said the
multinational company was "providing its complete co-operation and
support to the police".
Fraud and Cybercrime Squad investigators have seized hundreds of
documents from the offices of Orix and Coca-Cola as well as the homes
of the men arrested.
They are looking into further payments totalling millions of dollars and
dating back several years, a police spokesman said.
Fraud and Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent
Arthur Katsogiannis, vowed to pursue any person suspected of being
involved in corrupt business practices in NSW.
"White-collar crime – and in particular, employee-related fraud – costs
the NSW economy millions of dollars," he said.
Mr Carter, a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, has
risen the ranks within Orix Australia since its foundation in 1986 and has
been in management circles for 24 years.
The public company employs 300 staff and owns or manages assets
worth $1.2 billion, its website says. It is ranked 877 out of the top 2000
companies in Australia and generated a revenue of $372 million last
Orix Australia is part of the Orix Group, the largest fleet management
group in the Asia Pacific with 1100 offices and 800,000 assets under
lease and management.
Mr Carter and his wife have lived in Vaucluse since buying their
Vaucluse Road mansion for $2.75 million more than a decade ago.
His bio appeared to have been pulled down from Orix's website on
All three men were granted conditional bail by police to appear in the
Downing Centre Court later in April and May.
Standing with his suitcase beside a cruise ship at Sydney Harbour,
silver-haired Australian Chris Hamilton defends his right to draw a state
pension – even as his $400,000 private retirement fund reaps a steady
"We've been very wise and frugal," said the 70-year-old retired chemical
engineer as he prepared to board a 10-day Pacific island cruise with his
wife. The trip, to be followed by a European tour later this year, "is one of
the things on the bucket list," he said, adding the government support is
a welcome boost rather than a necessity.
More than two decades after Australia set up a compulsory retirement
savings scheme, known as superannuation, to wean people off of state
pensions, the means testing has been described as overgenerous. Four
out of five retirees are eligible for such welfare. The nation's $40 billion
annual pension bill accounts for 10 per cent of government spending and
is destined to grow in a country with one of the world's highest life