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Australian Tax Official Charged in $123M Fraud Probe

Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close leaves a press conference with Australian Taxation Office Acting Commissioner of Taxation Andrew Mills after the AFP smashed a massive tax fraud syndicate and seized planes, guns and luxury cars, in Sydney, May 18, 2017. A top-ranking tax official and his son were among those held after raids on homes and businesses across New South Wales state on May 17.

Australian police say a senior tax bureaucrat and his son are among 10 people charged in a sophisticated tax fraud that netted 165 million Australian dollars ($123 million) in less than a year.

Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close said Thursday that Michael Cranston, deputy commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office, faces up to five years in prison if convicted of abusing his position as a public servant by passing information to his son, Adam Cranston, 30, managing director of a Sydney financial services company.

Police do not allege the bureaucrat was part of his son's nine-member criminal syndicate that spent unpaid taxes on luxury homes, racing cars, aircraft, motorbikes, jewelry, art and vintage wine.

The nine were arrested in police raids on Wednesday and were to appear in court Thursday.